Carlos Santana is a Mexican and American guitarist, born on July 20, 1947, at Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico. He learned to play violin when he was five years old and the guitar at the age of eight under the tutelage of his father. In the 1950s, Carlos influenced by popular artists such as B.B King, T-Bone Walker, Javier Batiz, and John Lee Hooker. In the late 50s, he starts playing gigs at clubs and bars with various bands up and down the Tijuana Strip. Also, Carlos introduced to a variety of musical influences, including jazz and folk music. The early 60s, Carlos and his family move to San Francisco, where his father had already relocated to find work. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1965. He rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band.
Carlos decided to become a full-time musician. In 1966, he made his debut with the newly formed Santana Blues Band. Bill Graham promotes Carlos to play at the famous Fillmore West in San Francisco in 1968. The band’s early success capped off by a memorable performance at Woodstock in 1969. As a result, it leads the band to a recording contract with Columbia Records. And in the same year, they released their first album entitled Santana. Their first album became a huge hit and reached number four in the U.S. album charts. Carlos shot to fame after a legendary performance at Woodstock Music and Art Festival. Carlos popularity vastly increased when he appeared in the film, Woodstock. Their second album released in 1970 entitled Abraxas reached number one on the album charts. Three songs from that album: Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Va, and Samba Pa Ti became huge hits.
The band’s next two albums, Santana III (1971) and Caravanserai (1972) were also critical and popular successes. Also, to his work with his band, Carlos recorded and performed with some other high-profile musicians. Throughout the 70s and early 80s, Carlos and his band released a string of successful albums in their unique style. During the 80s, Carlos continued to tour and records both solos and with the band. But his popularity began to decrease with commercial audiences dwindling interest in jazz/rock blends. Carlos earned critical acclaim throughout the decade. Particularly for the 1987 solo album Blues for Salvador. He toured extensively, playing in sold-out auditoriums and on tours like LiveAid (1985) and Amnesty International (1986). He participated in the first-ever joint US-Soviet Rock’n Roll Summit in 1987, after years of touring.
Carlos left Columbia in 1991 and signed with Polydor, releasing Milagro (1992) and Sacred Fire: Live in South America (1993). After 25 years, Carlos played at a commemorative concert at Woodstock in 1994. In the same year, Carlos released a collaborative album, Brothers. Together with his brother Jorge and nephew Carlos, that was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental. Later in the decade, Santana was among the 1998 group of artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Carlos phenomenal comeback on the pop charts began in 1997 when he re-signed the band with his first producer and mentor. In 1999, Carlos released their 35th album, Supernatural. The early 2000s, the album sold 10 million copies worldwide and spawned a No.1 hit single Smooth. It became the Album of the Year, received eleven Grammy awards.
Furthermore, Carlos followed up his award-winning album with Shaman in 2002, which received more accolades. He and Michelle Branch won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals for the top 5 songs The Game of Love. In 2009, Carlos received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Billboard Latin Music Awards. He also debuted his own music review, Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through the Hits, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas that same year. Santana continued to take his music on the road, playing many tour dates each year. In 2013, he became a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. This 2019, Carlos released their new album Africa Speaks.