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Carlos Santana

Guitarist Carlos Santana is celebrating a birthday today, and we want to tell you 40 facts about him:

(Photo: / Joshua N. Timmermans)

1. He was born in Autlán de Navarro, Mexicoת on July 20, 1947.

2. The first instrument he played at age 5 was the violin. His father José Santana was a professional violinist and he inspired him to play the instrument.

3. He switched to playing guitar at the age of 8.

4. He was influenced by guitarists like B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, Peter Green, Jimi Hendrix, Hank Marvin, and Mike Bloomfield.

5. In his youth his family moved to Tijuana and from there to San Francisco. Santana became a U.S. resident in 1965.

6. The band named after him was formed in 1966 in the Latin Quarter of San Francisco.

7. The band, originally called "Santana Blues Band", included singer and keyboardist Gregg Rolie.

(Photo: Tucker Ranson)

8. The band, which originated in blues, gradually began to combine, folk, jazz, and Latin in its music, as well as African musical instruments, which made its style very different and unique.

9. Santana had to work very hard before he became famous. He played on the streets of San Francisco and even worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant.

10. He was accepted to several universities like "Humboldt State", "California State", and "Northridge", but eventually decided to pursue a musical career.

11. One of his first recordings was on the album "The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper" by the duo Al Cooper and Mike Bloomfield, which was recorded live in 1968. He played there in the song Sonny Boy Williamson.

12. He performed with his band at the Woodstock Festival on August 16, 1969, even before the band's debut album was released. It was one of the best performances at the festival.

13. Following Santana's successful performance in Woodstock, the band gained much publicity, and their first album released about two weeks later reached number four on the Billboard 200. The song "Evil Ways" from the album was ranked among the top ten most played songs in 1969 in the United States.

14. In September 1970 the band released their second album "Abraxas", which reached number one on the Billboard 200, and included the stunning cover of the song "Black Magic Woman", originally performed by Fleetwood Mac.

15. The third album of the band "Santana III" which was released in September 1971, was also a success when it reached number one on the Billboard charts.

16. In October 1972, the band's fourth album "Caravanserai" was released. It marked a turning point in the band's lineup as well as a change in the musical direction. It was the first album with guitarist Neal Schon, who two years later would leave the band together with singer and keyboardist Gregg Rolie in favor of the formation of the band "Journey".

17. In 1972 Santana became interested in the fusion ensemble "Mahavishnu Orchestra" and its guitarist John McLaughlin.

18. The two released the album "Love Devotion Surrender" in 1973, exactly on the exact day of Santana's birthday.

19. In November 1973 Santana released the band's fifth album "Welcome". The album marked a decline in the band's popularity which also continued in the next three albums "Borboletta" from 1974, "Amigos" from 1976, and "Festivál" from 1977, all of which won gold album status, compared to the band's first four albums which gained platinum status and above.

20. The 1980s started well for Santana whose album "Zebop !!" was a great success and included, among other songs, the hit "Winning".

21. However, in 1982 "Santana" released their 13th album - "Shangó" which again marked a decline in the band's popularity, which continued into the 1990s.

22. In 1989 he participated in John Lee Hooker's album "The Healer".

23. Santana returned to Woodstock 25 years later, performing at the 1994 festival.

24. In 1998 he was inducted into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame".

25. That same year he participated in the song "To Zion" by singer Lauryn Hill, from the excellent album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill".

26. In 1999 Santana released the album "Supernatural" which marked his mighty comeback.

27. The album featured famous musicians such as Dave Matthews, Rob Thomas, Lauryn Hill, Eagle-Eye Cherry, and Eric Clapton.

28. This album was a resounding success and sold about 30 million copies. The album also won nine Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards, becoming the best-selling Latin album in the Guinness Book of Records.

29. Santana tried to replicate the success on the 2002 album “Shaman”, which included collaborations with artists like Macy Gray, "P.O.D.", Chad Kroeger, Dido, Seal, and more.

30. He played in the song "Mother Father" from the 2001 album "Everyday" by Dave Matthews Band.

31. In 2005 he was a guest on Buddy Guy's "Bring 'Em In'" album.

32. During his illustrious career he has won 10 Grammy Awards.

33. He owns a restaurant chain called "Maria Maria" (named after his famous poem).

34. He also has a line of shoes called "Carlos by Carlos Santana".

35. In 2001 Santana participated in the song "Whatever Happens" by Michael Jackson from the album "Invincible".

36. He is literally a "bookworm", and loves to read all the time. On his website, you will even find a list of books he has read and recommends0

37. Santana is married to his band drummer Cindy Blackman. He proposed marriage to her during the band's performance in 2010, following her drum solo.

38. In 2010 he released the cover album "Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time", which features collaborations with artists like Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, and Joe Cocker who also share the same birthday with him, Chester Bennington, and more.

39. In 2016 he reunited with bandmates from the 70s, Mike Carabello, Michael Shrieve, Neal Schon, and Gregg Rolie, and released the album "Santana IV".

(Photo: Maryanne Bilham)

40. In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine ranked Santana 20th in the list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Santana has released during his illustrious career 26 studio albums under the band that bears his name as well as 7 more studio albums as a solo artist.

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