BGTC Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month - Carlos Santana
Guitarist. Born July 20, 1947, in Authin de Navarro, Mexico. His father, Jose, was
an accomplished professional violinist, and Carlos learned to play the guitar at age
8. In 1955, the family moved from Authin de Navarro to Tijuana, the border city between
Mexico and California. Santana moved again with his family, this time to San Francisco,
where his father hoped to find work.
In San Francisco, the young guitarist got the chance to see his idols, most notably King, perform live. After several years spent working as a dishwasher in a diner and playing for spare change jon the streets, Santana decided to become a full-time musician; in 1966, he formed the Santana Blues Band, with fellow street musicians David Brown and Gregg Rolie (bassist and keyboard player, respectively).
Tluoughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Santana and his band released a string of successful
albums in their unique style. Notable albums of this time period included Allligos (1976) and
Zebop (1981). During the 1980s, he continued to tour and record both solo and with the band, but
his popularity began to decrease with the commercial audience's dwindling interest in the
jazz/rock blend. Nevertheless, Santana earned critical acclaim throughout the decade, winning
his first Grammy Award, for Best Instrumental Performance, for the 1987 solo album Blues for
Salvador. He toured extensively, playing in sold-out auditoriums and on tours like Live Aid
(1985) and Amnesty International (1986).
As the band's personnel changed frequently, Santana (the band) came to be associated almost
exclusively with Santana himself, who soon became the only remaining member of the original
trio, and his psychedelic guitar riffs