Paul Reed Smith met up with Carlos Santana back in 1978-79 with a guitar that Paul thought suits the kind of music Carlos makes. Carlos saw in Paul’s eyes an eagerness which made him pick up the guitar and he has not put it down since. Thus Santana’s unusual 24-fret, 24Ω”-scale signature model became one of PRS’ earliest special order models. The Jazz legend and jazz fusion genius has been playing the Santana II model guitar ever since. He also likes to play the single-cut PRS guitar or any PRS guitar for that matter.
Carlos, born to a virtuoso mariachi violinist in Mexico moved to San Fransisco in 1961. By that time his keen interest in music helped him give shape to his destiny of becoming the Carlos Santana that made unforgettable songs such as “Black Magic Woman”, “Soul Sacrifice” and “Evil Ways”. Originally part of a group called ‘Santana Blues Band’ Carlos jammed and recorded music with many stalwarts of the 60’s and 70’s music scene. Although he was not viewed as the leader of the band the local music unions of those times required a leader and the name for the band, it was thus that the group came to be known as the ‘Santana Blues Band‘.
During the 1970 the group achieved its greatest commercial success with their second album – Abraxas. Carlos Santana along with the original Santana band members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 where he performed the famous and magical “Black Magic Woman” with the original writer of the song Peter Green. This led to Green to be inducted to the Hall of Fame the same night.
In 1971 teen sensation and San Fransisco Bay area guitar prodigy Neal Schon joined the band. In spite of other invitations from the likes of Eric Clapton Neal chose to join Santana. Together they completed the band’s third album Santana 3. Santana 3 was a huge success, selling more then two million copies and the giving birth to superhits like “Everybody’s Everything” and “No one to Depend On“.
The years 72′ – 73′ brought Santana close to Deborah King whom he later married in 1973. It was during this time that Santana’s new album – Caravanserai was released. This album marked the change in the direction of Santana’s music towards jazz fusion.
Santana’s career as per record sales has seen a few dips but he has always been amazingly successful on stage. Meeting and exceeding the needs of excitement and excellence hungry audience, he has captured the hearts and ears of music lovers of all ages. Santana has won 10 Grammy’s and nine of which were for the smash hit 1999 album “Supernatural”. He has also won three Latin Grammy awards.
On a more personal front Santana believes in spending just as much time with his family as he spends on the road. So if he is on road for two weeks he is at home for the next two weeks. Deborah and Santana have three kids all of whom get to be with their super busy dad for substantial periods of quality time. Along with Deborah, Santana started a non-profit organization called “The Milagro Foundation” which works to provide financial, educational and medical aid to underprivileged children.
In an industry prone to drug abuse and alcoholism Santana shines as beacon of conscientiousness and personal integrity. Bravo Carlos, Bravo!
- Santana – “Hope You’re Feeling Better” & “Mother’s Daughter” (120megahertz.wordpress.com)
- Today In Rock History: Santana (wncx.radio.com)
- Happy Birthday Carlos Santana (shoeblog.com)
- Justin Bieber & Carlos Santana Perform “Let It Be” on ‘Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve’ (worldaccordingtomonte.com)