Santana is a highly acclaimed and pioneering veteran Latin rock band that became famous during the early 1970s. Led by Carlos Santana, the band's signature sound comes from a unique fusion of rock, Latin American jazz, and African music elements and features Santana's virtuosic bluesy guitar lines with a variety of exotic percussion instruments and rhythms not often heard in rock music.
Formed in 1966 by Carlos Santana (lead guitar, vocals) in San Francisco, the band's original members also consisted of Michael Carabello (percussion), Tom Fraser (guitars), Rod Harper (drums), Gus Rodriguez (bass), and Gregg Rolie (keyboards, vocals), with numerous personnel changes and additions over the years. First known as The Santana Blues Band, other early members included Marcus Malone (percussion) who served with the group from 1967-1969. The classic lineup at the height of the band's commercial success (ca. 1969-1972) included Santana, Rolie, Jose "Chepito" Areas (percussion), and Michael Shrieve (drums), plus, at various times, Carabello, bassist David Brown (February 15, 1947 - September 4, 2000), and Neal Schon (rhythm guitar). Schon and Rolie went on to form Journey in 1973.
During the late 1960s, Santana amassed a loyal following in the San Francisco Bay area. The band's breakthrough came in August 1969 at the Woodstock Festival when it stole the show with its electrifying performance of "Soul Sacrifice," an instrumental written by several Santana members with extended guitar passages by Carlos Santana and a drum solo by Michael Shrieve. Within weeks of this historic event, Santana released its self-titled debut album to critical acclaim. "Santana," which peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200, was followed soon after by the equally acclaimed "Abraxas" (1970) and "Santana III" (1971), both of which topped the Billboard 200 and established Santana as one of the top acts of the early 1970s.
Santana debuted on the Pop/Rock in late 1969 with the Babatunde Olatunji-penned "Jingo," a mostly instrumental jam which became a minor hit. The band's fame took off in early 1970 with its first Top 10 hit, "Evil Ways." This smash was followed by a string of top hits that are among the band's all-time best known songs: "Black Magic Woman" (1970), "Oye Como Va" (1971), "Everybody's Everything" (1971), and "No One To Depend On" (1972). Santana continued to chart through the mid 1980s with such hits as its covers of The Zombies' "She's Not There" (1977) and Classic IV's "Stormy" (1978), plus "You Know That I Love You" (1979), "Winning" (1981), and "Hold On" (1982).
Santana experienced a resurgence of popularity in the late 1990s and re-emerged on the charts in 1999 with the chart-topping "Smooth" and "Maria Maria," both of which are included in the spectacularly successful album, "Supernatural," which topped the Billboard 200, won multiple Grammys, and went platinum. Other hits followed to well into the next century that include "The Game Of Love" (2002), "Why Don't You & I" (2003), and "Into The Night" (2007).
Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 along with Carlos Santana, Jose "Chepito" Areas, David Brown, Gregg Rolie, Mike Carabello, and Michael Shrieve. The band's numerous other honors and accolades include multiple Grammys with two albums in the prestigious GRAMMY Hall of Fame: "Santana" and "Abraxas." Over the years, many of the band's albums have been certified gold or platinum and Santana has sold more 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the world's best-selling groups of all time. The band's most recent works include "Santana IV" (2016) which was recorded by most of the original members of Santana's classic lineup.
- For more information about Santana's history and the band's current projects, visit santana.com.
Santana performs "Persuasion" on The Ed Sullivan Show (October, 26 1969).
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- Black Magic Woman 1970
- Everybody's Everything 1971
- Evil Ways 1970
(A new and longer version of this song by Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles charted in 1972.)
- No One To Depend On 1972
- Oye Como Va 1971
(This song is sung entirely in Spanish.)
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