December 18, 2023

I’ll Slip Away … The Sixto Rodriquez story

Sixto Rodriquez lesson by motivational speaker, Jacques de Villiers.

ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴀᴛᴇ ꜱɪxᴛᴏ ʀᴏᴅʀɪɢᴜᴇᴢ ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ɢᴏᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴇᴄᴏɢɴɪᴛɪᴏɴ ʜᴇ ᴅᴇꜱᴇʀᴠᴇᴅ, ᴀɴᴅ ᴘᴇʀʜᴀᴘꜱ ɴᴇɪᴛʜᴇʀ ᴡɪʟʟ ʏᴏᴜ.

When I was a soldier in the 80s humping my kit from ambush to ambush, from patrol to patrol, through interminable heat, sand, boredom and futility, Sixto Rodriguez (July 10, 1942, Detroit — August 8, 2023, Detroit) was our guy. Sugarman/Cold Fact/I Wonder were the anthems that carried us through our 17 months (1982 – 1984) in South West Africa (now Namibia).

Rodriguez should have been a massive superstar; his lyrics are sublime, haunting and deep. He wasn’t because ‘papa don’t allow no new ideas here’.

He is beautifully broken, authentic and raw. He works in construction and ekes out a living. He is a simple, humble man. He’s a poet. He’s an artist. He’s beautiful.

Image is AI generated.

There are many Rodriguezes reading this piece of text. Hell, you’re probably one of them. You who are rotten with talent, you should have be a superstar in your field, but like Rodriguez, you may never crack the nod.

I see your self-pity showing as the tears roll down your cheeks.


Don’t feel pity for yourself. If you’re still in the game and still swinging for the bleachers and leaving it all on the field of failure, you’re amazing. You’re an artist. You’re beautiful.

Keep on going. The world needs you. Don’t play small. Show up every day. Keep humping your kit. Keep swinging for the bleachers. You’re an artist. You’re beautiful.

I’ll slip away …


And, it doesn’t matter if no one recognises your worth. It doesn’t matter that your plans aren’t working out. What matters is that you play your best and that you take this masterpiece that is you, and create a master-work. Even if no one notices your worth, there is one that does. And, that one is happy with you. That one has always been happy with you because that one made you perfect just as you are.

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