Santana & Isley Brothers
Origin: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Santana formed in 1967 in San Francisco and was originally known as the Carlos Santana Blues Band. The first members were Carlos Santana (lead guitar), Tom Fraser (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Mike Carabello (percussion), Rod Harper (drums), David Brown (bass guitar) and Gregg Rolie (organ).
Its breakthrough began two years later, playing in the Woodstock Festival. Over the next few years, lineup changes were common and frequent, and although retaining a basis of Latin rock, Carlos Santana’s increasing involvement with guru Sri Chinmoy took the band further into more esoteric music, which continued for many years, although never quite losing the initial Latin influence.
The group was the last major act to emerge from the psychedelic San Francisco music scene of the 1960s and enjoyed massive success at the end of the decade and into the early ’70s. Carlos Santana became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1965.
Carlos Santana and band have released 24 studio albums, seven live albums, 61 singles and 23 compilation albums.
Santana signed with Columbia and released their self-titled debut album Santana. This album reached fourth place on the Billboard 200 and earned two-times platinum status by the American national certification. Next, Santana released Abraxas, on September 1970, which topped the Billboard charts and earned five-times platinum. Santana released another twelve albums in the 1970s, each earning RIAA certifications, and their success continued in the 1980s.
Over a career spanning 40 years, Santana exemplified Latin rock, while diversifying into other genres. Santana had sold over 100 million records as of 2010, along with ten Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards. Four albums reached number one in the Billboard charts (Abraxas, Santana III, Supernatural, Shaman) along with two number one singles (“Smooth,” “Maria Maria”).
In 2004, Carlos Santana had been at PBS Soundstage concert where he saw the Isley Brothers in concert with Burt Bacharach. Though the guitarist had been a fan of both artists, he was deeply moved by Ron Isley’s performance.
A decade later Santana was touring with Rod Stewart, whose band included Kimberly Johnson-Breaux, sister-in-law of Ron. When the singer popped backstage he and Santana met for the first time. The guitarist invited Isley on-stage to sing “It’s Your Thing” and “That Lady.”
It worked so well, the pair began discussing a collaboration. First, Isley contributed vocals to Santana IV. Following its release, the guitarist and his wife, jazz drummer Cindy Blackman Santana, joined the Isley Brothers in a Las Vegas studio–without prep–to record material for what would become 2017’s Power of Peace. The material consisted primarily of classic soul, pop, and blues covers including Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology),” Burt Bacharach’s and Hal David’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want to Make Love to You” Swamp Dogg’s “Total Destruction to Your Mind,” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Gypsy Woman,” among others.
The 13-song album was released this July, a week after Santana’s 70th birthday. In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine listed Santana at number 20 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. He has won 10 Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards.
Santana III (1971)
Inner Secrets (1978)
Beyond Appearances (1985)
Spirits Dancing In The Flesh (1990)
All That I Am (2005)
Guitar Heaven (2010)
Shape Shifter (2012)
Santana IV (2016)
with The Isley Brothers
Power of Peace (2017)