Carlos Santana – 22 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know
Carlos Humberto Santana Barragán was born on July 20th 1947 in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico. After forming the Santana Blues Band and getting signed to Columbia Records who changed their name to Santana they started to record an album in January 1969.
They went on to perform at the Woodstock Music And art Festival before their debut album was released. After Woodstock their debut album “Santana” was released in August 1969 and peaked at number 4 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
Those are some facts about Carlos Santana you probably already know. Keep reading for 22 impressive facts you didn’t know.
He Learned To Play Violin And Guitar From A Mariachi Musician
When Carlos Santana was 5 years old he learned how to play the violin. When he was 8 he started to learn how to play the guitar. He had the same tutor for both of these instruments – his father who was a mariachi musician.
He Performed In Front Of ½ Million People At Woodstock
When Carlos Santana and the band played at the Woodstock festival, they performed before an estimated 500,000 people. At that time Santana were virtually unknown, but Woodstock served as a pre-taster of what was to come.
His Early Influences Were Some Of The Guitar Greats
Carlos Santana’s early influences were artists including; B.B King, John Lee Hooker, Mike Bloomfield, Javier Bátiz, Gábor Szabó and Ritchie Valens.
He Turned Down Three Universities To Pursue His Music Career
His family moved from Autlán to Tijuana before moving to San Francisco, California, USA. Carlos left school and was accepted at California State University, Northridge and Humboldt State University but he decided to concentrate on his music instead.
He Started Out As A Busker
Carlos Santana joined local bands along the “Tijuana Strip” and started to develop his own unique sound. He was introduced to several new musical influences which included folk music and jazz.
He worked in a fast food restaurant as a dishwasher and used to busk on the streets to get enough money to pay for his Gibson SG guitar that he’d bought to replace his broken Gibson Melody Maker.
He Got Noticed In A Stand-In Band
Every Sunday at Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, there was live blues music. One week in 1966, Paul Butterfield the famous blues harmonica player was too drunk to perform. So Graham put together a stand-in band from local artists he knew.
Carlos Santana was one of those selected to perform and his playing was such that everybody noticed just how good he was.
He Formed A Band From Street Musicians
In 1966 Carlos Santana, along with fellow street musicians David Brown (bass), Marcus Malone (percussion) and Gregg Rolie (lead vocals, keyboards) formed the Santana Blues Band.
They played a unique and original fusion of Latin rock, salsa, jazz, blues and African rhythms. The band performed on the San Francisco club circuit and gained a large following.
He Performed With Peter Green
When Carlos Santana was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 he performed “Black Magic Woman” with the song’s writer, Fleetwood Mac’s founder, Peter Green. Green was also inducted on the same night.
One Of His Albums Won 9 Grammy Awards
In 2000 Carlos Santana’s album “Supernatural” won a total of 9 Grammy Awards. Plus 3 Latin Grammy Awards. The album which was released in 1999 included collaborations with artists including; Everlast, Eric Clapton, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Ceelo Green, Dave Matthews, KC Porter, J.B. Eckl, Rob Thomas and Maná.
The lead single “Smooth” spent 12 weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The follow up single “Maria, Maria” also went to number 1 and stayed there for 10 weeks.
SEE ALSO: Santana Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)
He Played Guitar On One Of Michael Jackson’s Songs
In 2001 Carlos Santana featured on the Michael Jackson song “Whatever Happens” taken from the album “Invincible”.
He Owns A Restaurant Chain
Starting in 2007, Carlos Santana has opened a chain of Upmarket Mexican restaurants called “Maria, Maria” along with chef Roberto Santibañez.
He Released His First Ever Spanish Language Album In 2014
In 2014 Carlos Santana released his 23rd studio album “Corazón”. The album features collaborations with several singers including; Gloria Estefan, Ziggy Marley, Pitbull, Diego Torres, Miguel and Juanes.
He Has His Own Signature Guitar
In 1982 he started to play a custom made PRS Custom 24 guitar. 6 years later PRS started to produce the Santana signature model which he has played ever since.
SEE ALSO: The Reason Why PRS Guitars Are So Expensive
He Founded A Children’s Organisation
In 1998 Carlos Santana and his family established the “Milagro Foundation” which “benefits under-resourced children around the world by making grants to community based tax-exempt organizations that work with children in the areas of education, health and the arts”.
He Proposed To His Drummer On Stage
On July 9th 2010, Carlos Santana proposed to his touring drummer, Cindy Blackman on stage during a show at Tinley Park, Illinois. They got married in December of the same year.
He Is A Playable Character In Guitar Hero 5
Carlos Santana is a playable character in the music video game Guitar Hero 5. There is a live version of his song “No One To Depend On” included in the game.
He Performed With Buddy Guy At The Montreux Jazz Festival
At the 2004 Montreux Jazz Festival Buddy Guy called Carlos Santana up on stage to perform with him.
He Featured On A Dora The Explorer Album
In 2005 Carlos Santana featured on Nickelodeon’s spin off Nick Jr.’s Dora The Explorer album “Dance Fiesta!” Playing the track “Oye Como Va” which was originally featured on Santana’s 2nd studio album “Abraxas”.
He Has Performed With Many Famous Artists
Carlos Santana has worked with many great artists over the years including; Alex Band (The Calling), Chad Kroeger (Nickelback), Everlast, Lauryn Hill, Michelle Branch (The Wreckers), Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), The Product DMB, Gloria Estefan, Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Chris Stapleton, Alice Coltrane, Steve Winwood, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, Narada Michael Walden, Booker T. Jones, Willie Nelson and Ziggy Marley to name but a few.
SEE ALSO: What Guitar Does Eric Clapton Use?
His Kids Are Very Creatively Talented Too
Carlos Santana has 3 children from his first marriage to Deborah King. His son Salvador Santana is a songwriter, band leader and instrumentalist. His daughter Stella Santana is a singer/songwriter and his daughter Angelica Santana is a writer, archivist and film producer.
He Spent Time Away From Music To Increase His Spiritual Growth
During the early 1980s Carlos Santana spent time away from the world of rock music to develop his spiritual growth.
He was a follower of guru Sri Chinmoy who was an Indian spiritual leader who taught meditation in the West. He grew in popularity until he had over 7,000 students throughout the world.
He Has A Star On Hollywood Boulevard
In 1997 Carlos Santana was awarded a star on Hollywood Boulevard. His star is located at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard.
SEE ALSO: What Guitar Does Carlos Santana Use?
Do You Know Any More?
That’s our 22 impressive facts about Carlos Santana you didn’t know. Can you think of any more? Please share them with us in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Carlos Santana was taught to play the guitar by his father when he was 8 years old. By that time he could already play the violin which his father started to teach him when he was 5.
When he was just starting out Carlos Santana was a busker on the streets and to help pay for his Gibson SG guitar, he was a dishwasher at a fast food restaurant called Tik Tock Drive-In number 2.
The Santana album that won 9 Grammy Awards is “Supernatural” which was released in 1999. The album also won 3 Latin Grammy Awards.
The restaurant chain owned by Carlos Santana is named after one of his hit songs, “Maria, Maria”.
The title of the 1993 album which Carlos Santana recorded with his brother Jorge and his nephew Carlos Hernandez is “Santana Brothers”.
The title of the lead single from the Santana album “Supernatural” which spent 12 weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart is “Smooth”.
The track on Michael Jackson’s 2001 album “Invincible” that features Carlos Santana is “Whatever Happens”.
The title of the Fleetwood Mac song that Santana covered in 1970 and is featured on the album “Abraxas” is “Black Magic Woman”.
The Santana song contains the lines “See as the rich is getting richer, the poor is getting poorer” is “Maria, Maria” which is taken from the album “Supernatural”.
The company that makes Santana signature guitars is PRS. Carlos Santana started playing PRS guitars in 1982 and they made the first Santana signature model in 1988 he has been playing them ever since.
The Santana song that features on the Dora The Explorer album “Dance Fiesta” is “Oye Como Va” which was originally featured on the album “Abraxas”.
The Artist that performed with Santana when they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is Peter Green. They performed the song “Black Magic Woman” which was originally recorded by Peter Green’s then band, Fleetwood mac.
On July 9th 2010, Carlos Santana proposed to his touring drummer, Cindy Blackman on stage during a show at Tinley Park, Illinois. They were married in December the same year.
The artist that Called Carlos Santana on stage to perform with him at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2004 is Buddy Guy.
Carlos Santana was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998 along with the classic Santana lineup of their first 2 albums as well as Peter Green .
The original artists that had a hit with the song “She’s Not There” that was covered by Santana in 1977 was “The Zombies” who released the song in 1965.