Santana, Carlos (1947–)

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Santana, Carlos (1947–)

Known for his distinctive guitar sound and melodic improvisational style, Carlos Santana is a pioneer of Latin rock and one of the most influential guitarists of his time. Born in Autlán de Navarro, Mexico, on July 20, 1947, he moved to San Francisco as a teenager. He formed the Santana Blues Band in 1966 (eventually dropping the "Blues Band" moniker), and the group's combination of rock, Latin percussion, and Afro-Cuban rhythms made it a popular draw in northern California clubs. Santana's performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival (and on the subsequent film and LP set documenting the event) propelled the band into the national spotlight. The group's first three records, Santana (1969), Abraxas (1970), and Santana III (1971), all went platinum and yielded a number of hit singles, including "Evil Ways," "Black Magic Woman," and "Oye como va." Despite extensive personnel changes throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Carlos Santana's guitar playing provided a consistent central focus of the band's sound. His growing interest in jazz and spirituality led to collaborations with artists such as John McLaughlin (Love Devotion Surrender, 1973) and Alice Coltrane (Illuminations, 1974). While remaining a popular live act, Santana did not return to the pop charts until 1999, when he released the multi-platinum-selling CD Supernatural. The album yielded two number one hits ("Smooth" and "Maria Maria") and earned nine Grammy Awards including awards for album, record, and song of the year.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance .


Heath, Chris. "The Epic Life of Carlos Santana." Rolling Stone, March 16, 2000, pp. 38-42, 45-46, 48, 86-89.

Leng, Simon. Soul Sacrifice: The Santana Story. London: Firefly Publishing, 2000.

Saidon, Gabriela. "Entrevista con Carlos Santana: El regreso del chamán." Clarín Contenidos (Argentina), March 5, 2006. Available from

                                     Andrew M. Connell

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Santana, Carlos (1947–)

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