Origin: San Francisco, CA.

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Genres: Acid rock, Blues-Rock, Chicano rock, Latin rock, psychedelic rock

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Santana is an American rock band formed in San Francisco, California in 1966 by Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana.  The band first achieved recognition through their performance of “Soul Sacrifice” 1969’s  Woodstock Festival.  The performance propelled their debut album the self-titled Santana into a hit, followed in the next two years by Abraxas and Santana III.  After the third album lineup changes were common with Carlos Santana’s increasing involvement with Indian spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy taking the band in more esoteric musical directions, though it never lost its Latin influence.

In 1988, Carlos Santana along with classic lineup band members Gregg Rolie, Michael Shrieve, Mike Carabello, David Brown and Jose “Chepito” Areas were inducted into the Rock and  Roll Hall of  Fame.

The band has earned nine Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammys.  Carlos Santana won a Grammy Award as a solo artist in 1988.  The band has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, making them one of the best selling groups of all time.  In 2016, the band released Santana IV reuniting the classic lineup from the first three albums.  The band is tied with Michael Jackson for the record number of Grammy Awards won in one night.

Formed in San Francisco in 1966 as the Santana Blues Band the group’s first audition was at San Francisco’s legendary Avalon Ballroom.

Prior to Woodstock Rock Impresario Bill Graham was asked to assist with logistics and planning for the event.  Graham agreed only if a new band that he was championing, the then unknown Santana was added to the bill.  Santana was then announced as one of the performers at the Woodstock Festival and the rest is history.

Shortly thereafter the band recorded their debut album, Santana in May 1969, completing recording within a month.  The album peaked within the top five of the US Billboard 200 pop chart with the single “Evil Ways,” hitting the top ten.

Santana toured to promote their debut and began recording its follow-up, 1970’s Abraxas.  The album became a critical and commercial success hitting number one on the US Billboard 200 album charts and highlighted by the band’s reworking of Fleetwood Mac’s “Black Magic Woman.”

Abraxas was followed by Santana III, which also hit number one.  The album was the last to feature its classic Woodstock era line-up.

The band’s fourth album Caravanserai saw multiple line-up changes with keyboardist/vocalist Greg Rolie singing only on a few songs. Caravanserai debuted at number 8 on the pop charts, despite not spawning a hit single.

More than a year after Caravanserai, Santana released Welcome.  The album was the first of four consecutive albums to achieved gold certification, as opposed it four previous predecessors, which all reached at least platinum status.

In 1977, Santa released Moonflower.  The album was the band’s most successful since Santana III achieving double platinum status in America.  The recording features both studio and live tracks, interspersed throughout the album.  The album mixed fusion with the Latin and blues-rock styles popular in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  A cover version of the Zombies’ hit song “She’s Not There,” was released as a single peaking at #27.  The band continued to periodically release albums for the next twenty years increasingly to diminished returns.

It was not until 1999’s Supernatural that the band returned to the number one on the album charts.  Supernatural spun off two number one singles; “Smooth,” with Rob Thomas as lead singer and “Maria, Maria.”  The album sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and according to the “Guinness Book of World Records” is the longest gap between number one albums.  Supernatural went on to win nine Grammy Awards including the award for Album of the Year.  It also won three Latin Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year.

Supernatural’s follow-up 2002’s Shaman while highly anticipated worldwide failed to live up to the critical and commercial success of its predecessor.  Musically, the album was a return to a more conventional sound for the group, with a mainly Latin-based sound.

In 2013, Carlos Santana announced that he would reunite his classic Woodstock era lineup with the intention of recording new music.  In April 2016, the band released Santana IV that reunited their early 1970’s lineup.  The album marked the first time in 45 years that the quintet had recorded together.

In January 2019, the band released In Search of Mona Lisa, a new 5-track EP.  In June 2019, Santana will release Africa Speaks, their new full-length album produced by Rick Rubin.

The year 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s iconic Supernatural album, and the 50th anniversary of their Woodstock performance.  The band is slated to headline the 50th anniversary of their performance at Woodstock 50 in August 2019.  Santana is currently heading a multi-year residency at House of Blues in Las Vegas.

Reference –

Santana discography

Sacramento’s K-ZAP 93.3 FM plays Santana.  All part of 50 years of Rock, Blues and More, 24-7 on our station’s stream at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/

Check out the single “Los Invisibles” from Santana’s forthcoming album Africa Speaks.