Santana - Artist Page
Bibliography  ·  Similar Music

Photo courtesy of Jensen Communications and Arista

Carlos Santana was born in Mexico. His father, José, an accomplished mariachi violinist, introduced Carlos to ‘traditional music,’ in the village of Autlan, at the age of five,. The family moved to the border boom town of Tijuana in 1955, where Carlos seriously took up guitar, studying and emulating the sounds of B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, T. Bone Walker and other blues greats he heard on the radio. 

As much as he was inspired by the early training he received from his father in traditional musical form and theory, Carlos soon realized his dream was to break free and play rock ’n roll. He began performing with local bands like The T.J.s, adding his own personal flair to the popular songs of the 1950s. 

As he continued playing with different bands up and down the bustling ‘Tijuana Strip,’ Carlos Santana began to hone his considerable skills and invent his inimitable sound. In 1961, he moved to San Francisco, in the United States, joining his family, who had relocated there the previous year. 

Destiny had most certainly brought Carlos to the right place at the right time, planting him smack in the middle of the burgeoning and hugely influential Bay Area music scene. The Bay Area in the 1960s was a melting pot of cultural, political and artistic change. In this climate, Carlos continued to evolve his unique, genre-bending style, and in 1966, he took his music to the people with the debut performance of the Santana Blues Band. 

For the next two years, the group was swept up in a whirlwind of acclaim and popularity that carried them from the boards of Bill Graham’s historic Fillmore West to the main stage at the Woodstock ‘Peace, Love, Music’ Festival. There, on August 16, 1969, the Santana band’s Latin-flavored rock was delivered to the masses. 

The world embraced Carlos Santana with passion, captivated by music that was always changing, heralded by a guitar prowess that today remains among the most distinctive. Each new release – including to date eight platinum and eight gold albums – emerged as a reflection of Carlos’s personal growth and artistic evolution. 

Fans also reveled in his humanitarian messages and spiritual affirmations – subtle urgings towards peace, joy, acceptance, compassion and understanding – that have been consistently communicated in a gentle, heartfelt manner at live performances around the globe. 

The Santana Band achieved double-platinum status their first time out with the 1969 Columbia debut album, Santana, featuring the hit single ‘Evil Ways,’ and quadruple-platinum with Abraxas, the classic 1970 follow-up which boasted among its tracks ‘Black Magic Woman’ and the incomparable Tito Puente composition “Oye Como Va.’ 

A period of experimentation with fusion jazz and non-Latin world sounds began with the Middle Eastern flavored album Caravensarai in 1972. Santana also collaborated with John McLaughlin, leader of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, one of the top fusion bands at the time.

A musical family reunion took place in 1994 with the album Brothers, which featured collaborations with Carlos’s sibling Jorge and nephew Carlos Hernandez. 

In 1995, the comprehensive Legacy boxed-set retrospective came out. This was followed in 1997 by a 2-CD collection, Live At The Fillmore, featuring performances from Santana's historic 1968 shows. 

Significant filmed repertoire include the 1988 video retrospective Viva Santana, the 1993 South American concert video Sacred Fire, and 1997’s CD-ROM A History of Santana: The River Of Color And Sound. Fox Television aired the gala special A Supernatural Evening with Santana, a celebration of the record-setting album featuring performances with Rob Thomas, Lauryn Hill, Dave Matthews and Sara McLachlan, among others. This passion also paved the way for ventures into the new musical and geographic territories, including the scoring of the feature film La Bamba, participating in 1987’s Rock ‘n Roll Summit, the first-ever joint US-Soviet rock concert and embarking on a 1988 tour with great jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter. 

Carlos Santana has also contributed his talents tot he benefit of numerous charitable causes, among them Blues for Salvador, San Francisco Earthquake Relief, Tijuana Orphans, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and education for Latin youth in association with the Hispanic Media &Education Group. He’s received numerous civic and humanitarian commendations over the years. In 1998, Carlos Santana and his wife Deborah started the Milagro Foundation.Its mission is to help underprivileged youths.

On Thursday, June 5, 2003, Carlos Santana pledged the profits of his 2003 Shaman tour to fight AIDS. The 23-show Shaman tour was estimated to bring in between 2.5 and 3 million dollars to the cause.


Santana (Columbia PC 9781, 1969)

Abraxas (Columbia JC 30130, 1970)

Santana III (Columbia PC 30595, 1971)

Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles! Live! (Columbia KC 31308, 1972)

Caravanserai (Columbia PC 31610, 1972)

Love Devotion and Surrender, with John McLaughlin (Columbia KC 32034, 1973)

Welcome (Columbia PC 32445, 1973)

Greatest Hits (Columbia PC 33050, 1974)

Borboletta (Columbia PC 33135, 1974)

Illuminations, with Alice Coltrane (Columbia PC 32900, 1974)

Lotus (Columbia 66325, 1974)

Amigos (Columbia PC 33576, 1976)

Festival (Columbia PC 34423, 1977)

Moonflower (Columbia C2 24914, 1977)

Inner Secrets (Columbia FC 356000, 1978)

Marathon (Columbia FC 36154, 1979)

Oneness (Columbia JC 35686, 1979)

The Swing of Delight (Columbia C2 36590, 1980)

Zebop! (Columbia FC 37158, 1981)

Shango (Columbia FC 31822, 1982)

Havana Moon (Columbia FC 38642, 1983)

Beyond Appearances (Columbia FC 39527, 1985)

Freedom (Columbia FC 40272, 1987)

Blues For Salvador (Columbia FC 40875, 1987)

Viva Santana! (Columbia C3X 44344, 1988)

Spirits Dancing In The Flesh (Columbia C 46065, 1990)

Milagro (Polygram 314 513 192-2, 1992)

Sacred Fire (Polygram 314 521 082-2, 1993)

Brothers (Guts and Grace/Island 314 523 677-2, 1994)

Dance of the Rainbow Serpent (Columbia C3K 64605, 1995)

Live at the Fillmore ’68 (Columbia 485106 2, 1997)

Supernatural (Arista AR!19080, 1999)

San Mateo Sessions: Deluxe Edition (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra, 2002)

The Essential Santana (Legacy Records, 2002)

The Fillmore Performance...: Deluxe Edition (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra, 2002)

Shaman (Arista, 2002)

All That I Am (Arista, 2005)

The Woodstock Experience (Sony BMG / Legacy, 2009)

Guitar Heaven (Arista, 2010)

Shape Shifter (Starfaith, 2012)

DVD, Santana - Supernatural Live - An Evening with Carlos Santana and Friends (2002)

DVD: Santana - Live by Request (Arista, 2005)

Jam with Carlos Santana with CD with CD (Audio). Publisher: Warner Brothers Publications (2000). ISBN: 1843285371

Santana Easy Guitar Anthology. Publisher: Alfred Publishing Company (2001). ISBN: 0757902200

In Session with Carlos Santana. Warner Bros Pubns; Book & CD edition (1999). ISBN: 1859096220

Carlos Santana: Back on Top by Marc Shapiro. Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (2002).ISBN: 0312288522

Soul Sacrifice by Simon Leng. Publisher: Firefly Publishing (2000). ISBN: 0946719292

Similar Music:
Rock, Afro-Cuban, Jazz, Fusion, Guitar