AKA Carlos Augusto Alves Santana
Birthplace: Autlan de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico
Race or Ethnicity: Hispanic
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: House is dark, pots are cold
One of the more prominent figures to emerge from the lively West Coast rock scene of the late 60s, Carlos Santana was born into a family with a long history in the music field. He spent his early years in Mexico, receiving his first musical instruction from his father, a Mariachi violinist, who attempted for several years to train his son on the instrument. By the time he reached the age of eight, however, little Carlos had fallen under the influence of blues performers such as B. B. King and John Lee Hooker, and the violin was abandoned in favor of the guitar.
Santana first began his career as a working musician after his family moved to Tijuana in 1955, playing with local bands in nightclubs and bars on the Tijuana Strip; but it was after moving to San Francisco in 1961 that the guitarist fully began to develop his reputation. At a local jam session he met keyboardist Gregg Rolie, and the two assembled other SF-based players to form The Santana Blues Band, performing a blend of rock and jazz with strong Latin and African elements. A premier showing at the Fillmore West in 1966 immediately established them as a favorite with the West Coast crowd. This strong regional popularity resulted in an invitation to perform at the Woodstock festival in 1969, where the band (by this time simply called Santana) delivered a performance which cemented its national (and international) standing.
As a consequence of Woodstock, Santana secured a deal with Columbia records; before the end of the year its self-titled debut had been release and was climbing up the charts. The record eventually peaked at the #4 position and achieved double-platinum status. Subsequent releases over the next two years, Abraxas (1970) and Santana III (1971) met with similar success. A more pronounced inclination towards jazz began with 1972's Caravanserai, but by this time Rolie was becoming dissatisfied with the direction the music was taking; shortly afterwards he resigned, taking guitarist Neal Schon with him to form stadium-rock practitioners Journey. Numerous changes in personnel had already taken place throughout the band's existence, and before long Santana had re-organized once again and returned to action.
During this time Carlos had developed an interest in spirituality and become a disciple of Sri Chinmoy; with similarly-oriented musicians John McLaughlin and Stanley Clarke he recorded the jazz fusion album Love, Devotion, Surrender. This would initiate the start of a solo fusion career, maintained simultaneously with his work in the Santana band. A prolific output was maintained on both fronts throughout the 70s and 80s. In 1986, an extensive 20th anniversary was staged in San Francisco, featuring all of the numerous musicians from throughout the band's history.
In 1992 Santana ended his long relationship with Columbia and relocated for a time to PolyGram; only two releases would surface as a consequence of this arrangement. A new deal was struck with Arista in 1997, resulting in the most commercially successful record of his career. 1999's Supernatural paired Santana with new artists including Wyclef Jean, Dave Matthews, and Lauryn Hill, as well as fellow veterans like Eric Clapton; the album would take residence in the #1 position for 12 weeks and earn 12 Grammy awards, as well as outselling all previous titles in the guitarist's catalogue.
Father: Jose Santana (musician)
Wife: Deborah Santana (m. 1973, div. 2007)
Wife: Cindy Blackman (drummer, b. 18-Nov-1959, m. 19-Dec-2010)
High School: Mission High School, San Francisco, CA (1965)
Santana Guitarist (1966-)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1998
Hollywood Walk of Fame 1998
Naturalized US Citizen 1965
Traveled to the USSR Jul-1987
Drug Possession: Marijuana 1991 (Houston, TX, no contest, fined $100)
Asteroid Namesake 2620 Santana
Risk Factors: Marijuana, LSD
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Beware of Mr. Baker (10-Mar-2012)
Live Aid (13-Jul-1985) · Himself
Soul to Soul (18-Aug-1971) · Himself
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