Unbeknownst to him, Detroit singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez had a loyal following in South Africa in the 1970s, and some of his songs became anthems of the anti-Apartheid movement. His belated claim to fame was captured in the 2012 documentary Searching for Sugar Man, which featured several of the artist’s original songs, including the swinging “I Wonder.”
Now Rodriguez has released a lyric video for that track, which you can catch here exclusively. In the clip, lyrics flash across neon signs and appear as storefront graffiti as a Rodriguez walks slowly through an abandoned Detroit with a guitar on his back. The song originally appeared on Rodriguez’s first album, 1970’s Cold Fact; the video, while animated with modern technology, conveys a sense of times past through its images of pawn shops and record stores.
Searching for Sugar Man and its soundtrack garnered international accolades earlier this year. The film took home the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; the soundtrack, meanwhile, was the first Rodriguez album to chart in the U.S., selling over a half-million copies worldwide (including Gold sales in South Africa, Sweden, France and Poland). Rodriguez has since played concerts in Europe, Australia, South Africa and North America (including a pair of New York dates at Radio City Music Hall and the Barclays Center). “I Wonder” has received particular notice lately: it was covered by Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and singer-songwriter Ruby Amanfu.
“Thank you to the fans,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “It’s an honor and a pleasure to be heard.”