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Carlos Santana was born July, 20, 1947 in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico. His full name is Carlos Augusto Alves Santana. His sound was praised by music critics, by combining rock and blues with salsa, jazz, and latin music. Here is his story.

Carlos Santana was born to his two parents, Josè and Josèfina Santana. He had two brothers named Antonio and Jorge, and four sisters named Laura, Irma, Maria and Leticia. He was introduced into music at an early age by his father, a mariachi trumpet player, and he learned how to play violin at an early age, however, he felt violin wasn't for hime and he switched to guitar.He was inspired by Mexican music, like the mariachis, Blues, and Jazz. His family relocated to Tijuana, Mexico. Then, they moved to San Fransisco, California, but Carlos stayed in Tijuana and played in bars and clubs, but then moved with them to San Fransisco. In an interview with Larry King, he said that he was raised very poor.

In 1966, Santana formed a band with Tom Frazier, Mike Carabello, Rod Harper, Gus Rodriguez, and Gregg Rolie. They called the band the Santana Blues Band, but later shortened it to just Santana. They got their big break when they were performing at the Fillmore in 1968, when promoter, Bill Graham saw them. They were then signed to Columbia records.

Santana released their self-titled debut in 1969, skyrocketing through the charts, even though a large part of it was instrumental. The album had famous songs like the hit, "Jingo", "Persuasion", "Treat", "Soul Sacrifice", "Evil Ways" and others. Although they only had one album currently out, Santana went on the Ed Sullivan Show. They played a medley of "Jingo", "Persuasion" and ended it with "Soul Sacrifice". Later that year, they played a set and the legendary Woodstock Festival, where they played an electrifying 11-minute version of "Soul Sacrifice". Their album reached #4 on the charts, and "Evil Ways" hit #9.

In 1970, they released their biggest masterpiece, Abraxas, which got incredible reviews, getting a perfect 5 out of 5 stars from the AMG. It featured a number of hits like "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" written by Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green. Also, "Oye Como Va", written by Tito Puente, was huge and extremely popular with the spanish-speaking part of America. It featured a song entirely written by Carlos Santana, "Samba 'Pa Ti", with a jazz, and large latin feel. And "Incident At Neshabur" has a large jazz feel with the percussion and piano.

Although their success seemed unbreakable, Gregg Rolie and Carlos Santana wanted the the band's music to be in different directions, with Rolie wanting more of a progressive rock feel. Carlos wanted more percussion, and less length to the song, giving it a feel of his heritage in Mexico.

In 1971, the Santana band brought in a new guitarist, Neal Schon, to play in the band. They created Santana III, which was another huge success, hitting #1 and having the hits, "Everybody's Everything", and "No One To Depend On", where Carlos showed his "Hendrix" side of playing. It was around this time where Carlos married a woman named Deborah.

In 1972, Rolie had left the band and opened a restaurant in Seattle. Santana released Caravanserai, which wasn't the success of the two previous albums. In the early '80s, Santana had two hits with "Winning" and "Hold On", but from there, the band only went downhill.

In 1988, Santana won a grammy (best instrumental), for his song "Blues For Salvador". Salvador was the name of his son. He had alot of collaborations with plenty of artists, like Willie Nelson, but Santana was not the same as the mass stardom they had in the '70s.

Santana had very low sales in the '90s, and was thought of as "washed up", but Clive Davis, who had worked with Santana at Columbia records, decided to take a chance and make another record with Carlos. In 1999, Santana released his biggest success Supernatural. It has sold over ten million copies, and had songs featuring Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton, Rob Thomas, Wyclef Jean, and others. Tha album had hits like "Maria Maria" and "Smooth". The album won nine grammys, including Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, and Song Of The Year.

In 2002, Santana released Shaman, which wasn't the huge success of the previous album, but it got radio-play with "The Game Of Love", featuring Michelle Branch. It stayed On the charts for an acceptional time period also.

Rolling Stone magazine released and issue with the top 100 guitarists, with Carlos Santana as #15.

In 2005, Santana released All That I Am, which failed to get praise from the critics. The album did feature its highlights with "Da Tú Amor" and "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love" written and sung by Los Lonely Boys.

Santana graced the world with his music, and his guitar playing has inspired many musicians, like Henry Garza of Los Lonely Boys, and Eric Clapton. Photos can be found of Clapton wearing a Santana shirt at a concert. He is still playing concerts and has been married to his wife, Deborah Santana, for over 30 years. His son is in the Salvador Santana Band, and they have opened up for Santana, with Salvador as a very skilled keyboardist. Although his career had his ups and downs, Carlos Santana showed the world that he is one of the greatest musicians ever.


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Last edited by Matt Montoya at May 17, 2006,