Look back at the beginning of his career and Santana’s debut album
The legendary Carlos Santana turns 76
A living legend, Carlos Santana it’s one of the most experimental and eclectic musicians in Rock music. His highly original blend of Latin-infused rock, jazz, blues, salsa and African rhythms led him to experiment with several different styles throughout his career that started back in the 1960’s in San Francisco, at the center of the Hippie movement. Carlos Santana was born on July 20, 1947 in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico and crossed the border to the U.S with his family that was searching for a better life, when he was around age 10. During the 1960’s, Santana witnessed the rise of the Hippie movement, and as a musician, he also smartly noticed how Rock music was changing along with culture. During that period he still was working as a dishwasher in a diner and busking for spare change, but, influenced by the social changes around him, in 1966 he decided to become a full-time musician. Santana, who was a frequent spectator at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West where he got acquainted to several important local Bay area Rock acts of the time such as the Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and Big Brother and The Holding Company among others, got his first big break in that same year at the Filmore West. During a Sunday matinee show, Paul Butterfield was slated to perform there but was unable to do so as a result of being intoxicated, which lead to Filmore’s boss Bill Graham to assemble an impromptu band of musicians he knew primarily through his connections with Butterfield’s band and with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, but he had not yet chosen all the guitarists when Santana’s manager, Stan Marcum, immediately suggested to Graham that Santana join the impromptu band and Graham agreed. During the jam session, Santana’s guitar playing and solo gained the notice of both the audience and Graham and Santana formed the Santana Blues Band, later shortened to Santana. The band gained an immediate following on the San Francisco club circuit, specially due to their original sound blend, never before heard on any other band and even before they released a record, in August 1969, Santana were surprisingly invited to the Woodstock Festival and became one of the top acts; their set (reportedly played under LSD influence) was legendary and later the exposure of their eleven-minute instrumental “Soul Sacrifice” in the Woodstock film and soundtrack album vastly increased their popularity. Soon after the Woodstock performance, that same month they signed a recording contract with Columbia Records, then run by Clive Davis, and released their outstanding debut “Santana”. Carlos Santana turns 76 today, we invite you to revisit the 1969 debut “Santana”
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