Carlos Santana is acknowledged as one of the world's best and most respected guitarists. He formed the band in San Francisco in 1966 together with keyboard player Gregg Rolie. Their brand of Latin-tinged rock took the world by storm and they killed at Woodstock. This was the first album to feature second guitarist Neal Schon, another excellent player, and percussionist Coke Escovedo. As was the case with the first two Santana albums, this one spent a considerable time on the charts. Rollie and Schon would later go on to form Journey, and Santana would go on to record many chart busting albums with a number of various line-ups.He's recently been nominated for some long-time-overdue awards for his new album, "Supernatural". Oy, Carlos - how's about visiting these shores with your band sometime, preferably before we all go on pension!!?

Santana
Santana - Oye Como Va, taken off "Abraxas", their second album, released in 1970. This is actually dedicated to the great Latin percussionist and band leader, Tito Puente, who died a few weeks ago, aged 77. Santana had huge success with this Puente-penned track, and it spent months on the charts, as did this excellent album, which contained arguably the most sensual rock instrumental of all time, Samba Pa Ti. Santana have been regularly featured on The Dinosaur Days as well as on these pages, so we won't repeat their history here. What is worth repeating, however, is the fact that Carlos Santana, guitarist/vocalist and founder member, is considered to be one of the world's best and most respected guitarist. As is now commonly known, his contribution to music has finally been justifiably acknowledged with the multi-Grammy awards he recently received for the band's "Supernatural" album. The first three Santana albums have also recently been remastered and re-issued with a number of bonus tracks.

Santana 
 Santana - Every Step of the Way, from "Lotus", their 10th album, released in 1975. Our featured track, a request, originally appeared on 1972's "Caravanserai" album. Penned by drummer Mike Shrieve, this track featured some of the best guitar playing to emanate from the fingers of the magical Carlos. We've obviously featured Santana on numerous occasions before, so you can refer to previous pages if you'd like to read up more on this most famous band. This album, originally released on vinyl as a triple album complete with lavish posters and cover, was recorded live in Japan in July 1973. It came out as a double CD release and is essential listening for anyone into Santana. (if they haven't already got it, that is!) 

Santana 
Santana - Open Invitation, taken from "Inner Secrets", their very popular 14th album, released in 1978. This album must have had at least five or six major hits for Carlos Santana and his band. Although the typical Santana trademark was very much in evidence, the album was distinctly different in style to the normal Santana sound in that they did tremendous covers of Buddy Holly's "Well All Right" and J.R.Cobb's "Stormy", both of which received extensive airplay. Our featured track, together with "One Chain (Don't Make No Prison)", were regularly played at discos and clubs. The Santana line-up at this stage included Dave Margen on bass, Chris Solberg on rhythm/lead guitar and organ, Greg Walker on vocals, Chris Rhyne on keyboards, Raul Rekow, Pete Escoved and Armando Peraza on assorted percussion and Carlos Santana on guitars. 
  

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Biography by William Ruhlmann
Santana is the primary exponent of Latin-tinged rock, particularly due to its combination of Latin percussion (congas, timbales, etc.) with bandleader Carlos Santana's distinctive, high-pitched lead guitar playing. The group was the last major act to emerge from the psychedelic San Francisco music scene of the 1960s and it enjoyed massive success at the end of the decade and into the early '70s. The musical direction then changed to a more contemplative and jazzy style as the band's early personnel gradually departed, leaving the name in the hands of Carlos Santana, who guided the group to consistent commercial success over the next quarter-century. By the mid-'90s, Santana seemed spent as a commercial force on records, though the group continued to attract audiences for its concerts worldwide. But the band made a surprising and monumental comeback in 1999 with Supernatural, an album featuring many guest stars that became Santana's best-selling release and won a raft of Grammy Awards.

Mexican-native Carlos Santana (born July 20, 1947, in Autlan de Navarro, Mexico) moved to San Francisco in the early '60s, by which time he was already playing the guitar professionally. In 1966, he formed the Santana Blues Band with keyboard player and singer Gregg Rolie (born June 17, 1947, in Seattle, WA) and other musicians, the personnel changing frequently. The group was given its name due to a musicians union requirement that a single person be named a band's leader and it did not at first indicate that Carlos was in charge. Bass player David Brown (born February 15, 1947, in New York, NY) joined early on, as did Carlos' high school friend, conga player Mike Carabello (born November 18, 1947, in San Francisco), though he did not stay long at first. By mid-1967, the band's lineup consisted of Carlos, Rolie, Brown, drummer Bob "Doc" Livingston, and percussionist Marcus Malone. The name was shortened simply to Santana and the group came to the attention of promoter Bill Graham, who gave it its debut at his Fillmore West theater on June 16, 1968. Santana was signed to Columbia Records, which sent producer David Rubinson to tape the band at a four-night stand at the Fillmore West December 19-22, 1968. The results were not released until almost 30 years later, when Columbia/Legacy issued Live at the Fillmore 1968 in 1997.

Livingston and Malone left the lineup in 1969 and were replaced by Carabello and drummer Michael Shrieve (born July 6, 1949, in San Francisco), with a second percussionist, Jose "Chepito" Areas (born July 25, 1946, in Leon, Nicaragua) making Santana a sextet. The band recorded its self-titled debut album and began to tour nationally, making an important stop at the Woodstock festival on August 15, 1969. Santana was released the same month. It peaked in the Top Five, going on to remain in the charts over two years, sell over two million copies, and spawn the Top 40 single "Jingo" and the Top Ten single "Evil Ways." Santana's performance of "Soul Sacrifice" was a highlight of the documentary film Woodstock and its double-platinum soundtrack album, which appeared in 1970. The band's second album, Abraxas, was released in September 1970 and was even more successful than its first. It hit number one, remaining in the charts more than a-year-and-a-half and eventually selling over four million copies while spawning the Top Five hit "Black Magic Woman" and the Top Ten hit "Oye Como Va." By the end of the year, the group had added a seventh member, teenage guitarist Neal Schon (born February 27, 1954).

Santana's third album, Santana III, was performed by the seven band members, though several guest musicians were also mentioned in the credits, notably percussionist Coke Escovedo, who played on all the tracks. Released in September 1971, the album was another massive hit, reaching number one and eventually selling over two million copies while spawning the Top Ten hit "Everybody's Everything" and the Top 20 hit "No One to Depend On." But it marked the end of the Woodstock-era edition of Santana, which broke up at the end of the tour promoting it, with Carlos retaining rights to the band name.

Following a tour with Buddy Miles that resulted in a live duo album (Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live!), Carlos reorganized Santana and recorded the fourth Santana band album, Caravanserai, on which each track featured individual musician credits. From the previous lineup, Rolie, Shrieve, Areas, and Schon appeared, alongside pianist Tom Coster, percussionist James Mingo Lewis, percussionist Armando Peraza, guitarist/bassist Douglas Rauch, and percussionist Rico Reyes, among others. (Rolie and Schon left to form Journey.) The album was released in September 1972; it peaked in the Top Five and was eventually certified platinum. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance with Vocal Coloring.

Carlos, who had become a disciple of the guru Sri Chinmoy and adopted the name Devadip (meaning "the eye, the lamp, and the light of God"), next made a duo album with John McLaughlin, guitarist with the Mahavishnu Orchestra (Love Devotion Surrender). Meanwhile, the lineup of Santana continued to fluctuate. On Welcome, the band's fifth album, released in November 1973, it consisted of Carlos, Shrieve, Areas, Coster, Peraza, Rauch, keyboard player Richard Kermode, and singer Leon Thomas. The album went gold and peaked in the Top 20. In May 1974, Lotus, a live album featuring the same lineup, was released only in Japan. (It was issued in the U.S. in 1991.) Carlos continued to alternate side projects with Santana band albums, next recording a duo LP with John Coltrane's widow Alice Coltrane (Illuminations). Columbia decided to cash in on the band's diminishing popularity by releasing Santana's Greatest Hits in July 1974. The compilation peaked in the Top 20 and eventually went double platinum. The sixth new Santana album, Borboletta, followed in October. The band personnel for the LP featured Carlos, Shrieve, Areas, Coster, Peraza, a returning David Brown, saxophonist Jules Broussard, and singer Leon Patillo, plus guest stars Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, and Stanley Clarke. Borboletta peaked in the Top 20 and eventually went gold. Carlos steered Santana back to a more commercial sound in the mid-'70s in an attempt to stop the eroding sales of the band's albums. He enlisted Santana's original producer, David Rubinson, to handle the next LP. The band was streamlined to a sextet consisting of himself, Coster, Peraza, Brown, drummer Ndugu Leon Chancler (Shrieve having departed to work with Stomu Yamashta), and singer Greg Walker. The result was Amigos, released in March 1976, which returned Santana to the Top Ten and went gold. The band was back only nine months later with another Rubinson production, Festival, for which Santana consisted of Carlos, Coster, returning members Jose "Chepito" Areas and Leon Patillo, drummer Gaylord Birch, percussionist Raul Rekow, and bass player Pablo Telez. This album peaked in the Top 40 and went gold. Never having issued a live album in the U.S., Santana made up for the lapse with Moonflower, released in October 1977, for which the band consisted of Carlos, Coster, Areas, Rekow, Telez, returning member Greg Walker, percussionist Pete Escovedo, drummer Graham Lear, and bass player David Margen. The album peaked in the Top Ten and eventually went platinum, its sales stimulated by the single release of a revival of the Zombies' "She's Not There" that peaked in the Top 20, Santana's first hit single in nearly six years.

Turning to producers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, Santana returned to the studio for Inner Secrets, released in October 1978. The revamped lineup this time was Carlos, Rekow, Walker, Lear, Margen, returning members Coke Escovedo and Armando Peraza, keyboard player Chris Rhyne, and guitarist/keyboard player Chris Solberg. The album was quickly certified gold, and a revival of the Classics IV hit "Stormy" made the Top 40, but Inner Secrets peaked disappointingly below the Top 20. Once again adopting his guru name of Devadip, Carlos issued his first real solo album (Oneness/Silver Dreams - Golden Reality) in February 1979. Marathon, the tenth Santana band studio album, followed in September, produced by Keith Olsen, the band here being Carlos, Rekow, Lear, Margen, Peraza, Solberg, singer Alex Ligertwood, and keyboard player Alan Pasqua. The album equaled the success of Inner Secrets, peaking outside the Top 20 but going gold, with "You Know That I Love You" becoming a Top 40 single. Again, Carlos followed in the winter with another solo effort (the Swing of Delight).

Santana (Carlos, Rekow, Lear, Margen, Peraza, Ligertwood, keyboard player Richard Baker, and percussionist Orestes Vilato) spent some extra time on its next release, not issuing Zebop! until March 1981, and the extra effort paid off. Paced by the Top 20 single "Winning," the album reached the Top Ten and went gold. The band lavished similar attention on Shango, which was released in August 1982. The same lineup as that on Zebop! was joined by original member Gregg Rolie, who also co-produced the album. A music video helped Santana enjoy its first Top Ten single in more than a decade with "Hold On," but that did not translate into increased sales for the album, which peaked in the Top 20 but became the band's first LP not to at least go gold. Carlos followed with another solo album (Havana Moon), but did not release a new Santana band album until February 1985 with Beyond Appearances, produced by Val Garay. By now the lineup consisted of Carlos, Rekow, Peraza, Ligertwood, Vilato, returning member Greg Walker, bass player Alphonso Johnson, keyboard player David Sancious, drummer Chester C. Thompson, and keyboard player Chester D. Thompson. "Say It Again," the album's single, reached the Top 40, but that was better than the LP did.

Santana staged a 20-year anniversary reunion concert in August 1986 featuring many past bandmembers. The February 1987 album Freedom marked the formal inclusion of Buddy Miles as a member of Santana, alongside Carlos, Rekow, Peraza, Vilato, Johnson, Chester D. Thompson, and returning members Tom Coster and Graham Lear. The album barely made the Top 100. Carlos followed in the fall with another solo album (Blues for Salvador), winning his first Grammy Award in the process (Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the title track). In 1988, he added Wayne Shorter to the band for a tour, then put together a reunion edition of Santana that featured Areas, Rolie, and Shrieve beside Johnson, Peraza, and Thompson. In October, Columbia celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the band's signing to the label with the retrospective Viva Santana! The next new Santana album was Spirits Dancing in the Flesh, released in June 1990, for which the band was Carlos, Peraza, Thompson, returning member Alex Ligertwood, drummer Walfredo Reyes, and bass player Benny Rietveld. A modest seller that made only the lower reaches of the Top 100, it marked the end of the band's 22-year tenure at Columbia Records.

In 1991, Santana signed to Polydor Records, which, in April 1992, released the band's 16th studio album, Milagro. The lineup was Carlos, Thompson, Ligertwood, Reyes, Rietvald, and percussionist Karl Perazzo. Polydor was not able to reverse the band's commercial decline, as the album became Santana's first new studio release not to reach the Top 100. The group followed in November 1993 with Sacred Fire - Live in South America, which featured Carlos, Thompson, Ligertwood, Reyes, Perazzo, singer Vorriece Cooper, bass player Myron Dove, and guitarist Jorge Santana, Carlos' brother. The album barely made the charts. In 1994, Carlos, Jorge, and their nephew Carlos Hernandez, released Santana Brothers, another marginal chart entry. The same year, Areas, Carabello, Rolie, and Shrieve formed a band called Abraxas and released the album Abraxas Pool, which did not chart.

Santana left Polydor and signed briefly to EMI before moving to Arista Records, run by Clive Davis, who had been president of Columbia during the band's heyday. Carlos and Davis put together Supernatural, which was stuffed with appearances by high-profile guest stars including Eagle-Eye Cherry, Wyclef Jean, Eric Clapton, Lauryn Hill, Rob Thomas of matchbox 20, Everlast, and Dave Matthews. Arista released the album in June 1999, followed by the single "Smooth" featuring Rob Thomas. Album and single hit number one and in 2000, a second single, "Maria Maria," also topped the charts. Supernatural's sales exploded, taking it past ten million copies and the album garnered 11 Grammy nominations. Santana won eight Grammys, for Record of the Year ("Smooth"), Album of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal ("Maria Maria"), Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals ("Smooth"), Best Pop Instrumental Performance ("El Farol"), Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal ("Put Your Lights On"), Best Rock Instrumental Performance ("The Calling"), and Best Rock Album, and "Smooth" won the Grammy for Song of the Year for authors Rob Thomas and Itaal Shur. The follow-up, Shaman, appeared in 2002. Three years later All That I Am arrived with Steven Tyler, Michelle Branch, Big Boi, Joss Stone, Bo Bice, and many more making guest appearances. 

 

Michael Shrieve
Buddy Miles
Neal Schon
Jules Broussard
Tom Coster
Pete Escovedo
Leon Thomas
Luis Gasca
Armando Peraza
Greg Walker
José Chepitó Areas
Gregg Rolie
Jorge Santana
Coke Escovedo
Leon Patillo
Joel Badie
Richard Baker
David Brown
Mike Carabello
Leon "Ndugu" Chancler
Walfredo Reyes
Greg Errico
Wendy Haas
Alphonso Johnson
Richard Kermode
Graham Lear
James Mingo Lewis
Alex Ligertwood
Tony Lindsay
David Margen
Karl Perazzo
Luther Rabb
Doug Rauch
Benny Rietveld
Raul Rekow
Rico Reyes
Chris Rhyme
Douglas Rodriguez
Curtis Salgado
Chris Solberg
Chester Thompson
Orestes Vilato
Carlos Santana
Vorriece Cooper

Mandrill
Stanley Clarke
Jaco Pastorius
Peter Green
Michael Bloomfield
John McLaughlin
Neal Schon
Buddy Miles
Love
Al Kooper
Jefferson Airplane
Grateful Dead
Paul Butterfield
Hardline
Larry Coryell
Return to Forever
Weather Report
Bwana
Redbone
Jesse Ed Davis
Barrabas

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

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Santana - 1969 - Santana - 4.5/5

Santana - 1970 - Abraxas - 5/5

Santana - 1970 - Santana III - 4.5/5

Santana - 1972 - Caravanserai - 4.5/5

Santana - 1972 - Love Devotion Surrender - 4.5/5

Santana - 1973 - Welcome - 3/5

Santana - 1974 - Borboletta - 3/5

Santana - 1974 - Illuminations - 2/5

Santana - 1976 - Amigos - 4.5/5

Santana - 1977 - Festival - 3/5

Santana - 1977 - Moonflower - 3/5

Santana - 1978 - Inner Secrets - 2/5

Santana - 1979 - Marathon - 2/5

Santana - 1979 - Oneness, Silver Dreams Golden Realities - 3/5

Santana - 1980 - The Swing of Delight - 2/5

Santana - 1981 - Zebop - 2.5/5

Santana - 1982 - Shango - 2/5

Santana - 1983 - Havana Moon - 3/5

Santana - 1985 - Beyond Appearances - 2/5

Santana - 1987 - Blues for Salvador - 4.5/5

Santana - 1987 - Freedom - 3/5

Santana - 1990 - Spirits Dancing in the Flesh - 3/5

Santana - 1992 - Milagro - 3/5

Santana - 1994 - Santana Brothers - 2/5

Santana - 1995 - Soul Sacrifice (Retro Music) - 4/5

Santana - 1997 - Evil Ways (Delta) - 4/5

Santana - 1997 - Jingo (Delta) - 4/5

Santana - 1998 - Guitar Legends - 4/5

Santana - 1999 - Supernatural - 4/5

Santana - 2000 - Dueling Rock - 4/5

Santana - 2000 - High Profile - 4/5

Santana - 2001 - Mother Earth - 4/5

Santana - 2001 - Persuasion,Latin Tropical - 4/5

Santana - 2002 - Black Magic Woman - 4/5

Santana - 2002 - San Mateo Sessions - 3.5/5

Santana - 2002 - Shaman - 3/5

Santana - 2003 - Ceremony, Remixes & Rarities - 2.5/5

Santana - 2005 - All That I Am - 2.5/5

Rating

 

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