“Every musician who participated was on the same wavelength and artistic energy as I was. ‘Supernatural’ is a beautiful example of synchronicity. Making it was a truly glorious experience.” Santana
American rock band Santana, fronted by Carlos Santana, first came to the attention of the public after their performance at the renowned Woodstock Festival in 1969. They continued to score huge commercial success with their first three albums, “Santana” (1969, #4 US), “Abraxas” (1970, #1 US) and “Santana III” (1971, #1 US). Their popularity gradually declined after the band's switch from Latin rock to a more contemplative and jazzy style. The band enjoyed a revival in the late 1970s with “Moonflower” (1977), but did not experience a true renaissance until the release of “Supernatural” in 1999. The album became the band's first No. 1 hit on the Billboard 200 in 28 years and was certified 15x platinum by RIAA, making it the band's most successful album to date. “Supernatural” won Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album and contained the Grammy winners “Smooth,” “Maria Maria” and “Put Your Lights On.” After “Supernatural,” Santana produced the top 10 hit albums “Shaman” (2002), “All That I Am” (2005) and “Guitar Heaven” (2010).
Santana was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, with Carlos Santana, Jose Chepito Areas, David Brown, Mike Carabello, Gregg Rolie and Michael Shrieve being honored.
San Francisco Origin
Childhood and Family:
Guitarist Carlos Santana (born July 20, 1947, in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico) moved from Tijuana to San Francisco in the early 1960s and formed the Santana Blues Band in 1966 with fellow street musician, keyboardist Gregg Rolie (born June 17, 1947, in Seattle, WA). The group soon added bassist David Brown (born February 15, 1947, in New York, NY), drummer Rod Harper, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Tom Fraser, and percussionist Mike Carabello (born November 18, 1947, in San Francisco) to the lineup. By mid 1967, the band's members comprised of Carlos, Rolie, Brown, drummer Bob “Doc” Livingston, and percussionist Marcus Malone. The lineup has changed frequently although Carlos has remained the band’s leader.
First performing as Santana Blues Band, Santana was discovered by promoter Bill Graham in 1968 and soon appeared as the opening act at the Fillmore West Theater, which Graham promoted. Graham went on to become the band's co-manager. The band signed a recording deal with Columbia Records and taped their four night gig at the Fillmore West during December 19 to 22, 1968. The tape, however, was not released until nearly three decades later when Columbia/Legacy launched “Live at the Fillmore 1968” in 1997.
Santana's first big break arrived when the group performed at the legendary Woodstock Festival in New York State in 1969. Their performance received a standing ovation thanks to their Latin rock, which gave a contrast to other acts on the list. The band's performance of “Soul Sacrifice” became a highlight on the documentary film “Woodstock” and its double platinum soundtrack album, “Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More,” which was released in May 1970.
In August 1969, the band released a self titled debut album on Columbia. The album, featuring Carlos Santana (guitar, vocals), Gregg Rolie (organ, piano, vocals), David Brown (bass guitar), Michael Shrieve (drums), Michael Carabello (timbales, congas, percussion) and Jose 'Chepito' Areas (timbales, congas, percussion), received positive reviews from music critics and was a commercial success. It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and went double platinum in the U.S. The album also charted in France (#5), the Netherlands (#16), Norway (#19), the U.K. (#26) and Australia (#43). “Santana” spawned two hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Jingo” (#56) and “Evil Ways” (#9), the latter of which became the group's first Top 10 hit on the chart. The group then embarked on a tour in support of the album.
Santana enjoyed even bigger commercial success with their follow up, “Abraxas” (September 1970). Produced by Fred Catero and Carlos Santana, the album earned praise for blending Latin influences with familiar rock themes and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1970. It also rose to No. 1 in Australia and made the top 10 in the U.K. (#7), France (#7), Norway (#3) and the Netherlands (#9). “Abraxas” received 5x platinum certification in the U.S., went platinum in France and gold in the U.K. The most successful single from the album, “Black Magic Woman” (1970), previously recorded by Fleetwood Mac, went to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also featured the Top 20 hit single “Oye Como Va.”
The third studio album, “Santana III,” was released in September 1971 and became the band's second consecutive No. 1 hit album in the U.S. It peaked at No. 6 in the U.K. The album yielded two singles, “Everybody's Everything” and “No One to Depend On,” which peaked at No. 12 and No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. “Santana III” eventually achieved double platinum certification in the U.S.
On October 11, 1972, Santana released “Caravanserai,” which marked the group's shift toward a more jazzy sound. Recorded with new members Doug Rauch, Tom Rutley, Armando Peraza and Tom Coster, the album rose to No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and No. 6 on the U.K. Albums chart. It was certified platinum by RIAA. “Welcome” followed on November 9, 1973. Recorded with Carlos, Shrieve, Areas, Coster, Peraza, Rauch, keyboard player Richard Kermode, and singer Leon Thomas, the album went to No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 8 in the U.K. and achieved gold and silver, respectively. Another jazz/funk oriented album, “Borboletta,” was released in October 1974 on CBS Records. It peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard 200 and went gold in the U.S. The album also peaked at No. 18 in the U.K.
Carlos rehired David Rubinson, the band's original producer, for their seventh studio album, “Amigos,” which was recorded by Carlos, Brown, Peraza, drummer Ndugu Leon Chancler and singer Greg Walker. Launched on March 26, 1976, the blues rock album put Santana back on the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 and earned gold status on June 11, 1976. “Amigos” generated one minor hit single with “Let It Shine,” which peaked at No. 77 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band worked with Rubinson again for their next album, “Festival,” which was released in January 1977. It peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard 200 and the U.K. Albums chart and was certified gold by RIAA. The album was recorded with the lineup of Carlos, Coster, returning members Jose “Chepito” Areas and Leon Patillo, drummer Gaylord Birch, percussionist Raul Rekow, and bass player Pablo Telez. Several months later, Santana returned with “Moonflower,” which was produced by Carlos and Tom Coster. The album climbed to No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and No. 7 in the U.K., and received double platinum certification in the U.S. A cover version of the Zombies' 1964 hit song “She's Not There” was released as a single and rose to No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Moonflower” was recorded with Carlos, Coster, Areas, Rekow, Telez, returning member Greg Walker, percussionist Pete Escovedo, drummer Graham Lear, and bass player David Margen.
In October 1978, Santana released the album “Inner Secrets,” for which the band was comprised of Carlos, Rekow, Walker, Lear, Margen, returning members Coke Escovedo and Armando Peraza, keyboard player Chris Rhyne, and guitarist/keyboard player Chris Solberg. “Inner Secret” peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold. “Well All Right,” “Stormy” and “One Chain (Don't Make No Prison)” rose to No. 69, 32 and 59 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. In September 1979, Santana released the studio album “Marathon,” which peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard 200 and No. 28 on the U.K. Albums chart. It went gold in the U.S. The album contained the Top 40 hit single “You Know That I Love You,” which peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Santana released the album “Zebop” in April 1981, which Carlos co-produced with Bill Graham. It peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and eventually achieved platinum status. The album produced the singles “Changes,” a No. 45 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock, “Searchin,” a No. 26 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock, “Winning,” a No. 2 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock and also No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “The Sensitive Kind,” a No. 56 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. The next studio album, “Shangó,” was released in August 1982 with the same lineup as that of “Zebop” plus original member Gregg Rolie, who also co-produced the album. The album peaked at No. 22 on the Billboard 200 and went gold. A cover of Ian Thomas' “Hold On” was released as a single and rose to No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also went to No. 17 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks and No. 34 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts. Santana then released “Beyond Appearances” in February 1985 and “Freedom” in February 1987, which peaked at No. 50 and No. 95 on the Billboard 200, respectively. “Beyond Appearances” spawned a single called “Say It Again,” which went to No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 15 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks.
In June 1990, Santana (Carlos, Peraza, Thompson, Ligertwood, Reyes, and Rietveld) released the studio album “Spirits Dancing in the Flesh,” but it only went to No. 85 on the Billboard 200 and ended their long partnership with Columbia. In 1991, they signed with Polydor Records and released “Milagro” in May 1992. The album failed to enter the Billboard Top 100 in the U.S. It was followed by the live album “Sacred Fire: Live in South America,” which was dedicated to the life of Cesar Chavez. Released on October 19, 1993, the album rose to No. 181 in the Billboard chart.
After leaving Polydor, Santana briefly signed to EMI before moving to Arista Records. It was with Arista that the band found a revival with “Supernatural.” Released June 15, 1999, the album debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 on July 3, 1999, and peaked at No. 1 on October 30, 1999. It also rose to No. 1 in many other countries, including the U.K., Australia, France, the Netherlands and Sweden. The album was certified 15x platinum by RIAA and won nine Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and three Latin Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year. The lead single “Smooth,” featuring Rob Thomas, peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream and No. 3 on the U.K. Singles Chart. The song won Grammys for Best Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. The next single, “Maria Maria” (2000), featuring The Product G&B, went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and received a 2000 Grammy in the category of Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The single “Put Your Lights On,” featuring Everlast, failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100 but fared better on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks, where it peaked at No. 8. The song brought the group a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Also in 2000, Santana received additional Grammy Awards for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for “El Farol” and Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “The Calling.”
Santana's next release with Arista, “Shaman” was launched on October 22, 2002, and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It achieved double platinum status in the U.S. and sold over 5 million units worldwide. The album produced two singles with “The Game of Love” (2002), featuring Michelle Branch, and “Why Don't You & I” (2003), featuring Chad Kroeger of Nickelback. They rose to No. 5 and No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.
After “Shaman,” Santana did not release a new studio album until 2005's “All That I Am,” which was released internationally on October 31, 2005, and in the U.S. on November 1, 2005. Produced by Clive Davis, the album peaked at No.2 on the Billboard 200 and went gold in the U.S. The lead single, “I'm Feeling You,” featuring Michelle Branch and The Wreckers, only peaked at No. 55 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the follow up “Just Feel Better,” featuring Steven Tyler, peaked at No. 7 in Australia and No. 77 in the U.K. The last single, “Cry Baby Cry,” featuring Sean Paul and Joss Stone, went to No. 71 in the U.K.
Recently, Santana released “Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time” on September 21, 2010. The album, featuring guest performances by popular vocalists India, Arie, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Scott Stapp of Creed, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, Chris Daughtry of Daughtry, Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, Rob Thomas, and rapper Nas, rose to No. 5 on the Billboard 200. The Beatles cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (featuring India, Arie & Yo-Yo Ma) was released as the first single and went to No. 24 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary track. The next single, “Photograph” (featuring Chris Daughtry) rose to No. 30 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks. In addition to Carlos, the band members included Dennis Chambers (drums), Benny Rietveld (bass), Karl Perrazo (timbales), Tommy Anthony (rhythm guitar), Freddie Ravel (keyboards), Andy Vargas (background vocals), Raul Rekow (Congas), Bill Ortiz (trumpet) and Jeff Cressman (trombone).
Grammy: Record of the Year, Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, & Song of the Year, “Smooth,” 2000
Grammy: Album of the Year, “Supernatural,” 2000
Grammy: Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, “Maria Maria,” 2000
Grammy: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, “Put Your Lights On,” 2000
Grammy: Best Rock Album, “Supernatural,” 2000
Grammy: Best Pop Instrumental Performance, “El Farol,” 2000
Grammy: Best Rock Instrumental Performance, “The Calling,” 2000