Members: Carlos Augusto Alves Santana
Genre: Latin Rock Music
Hometown: Autlán de Navarro, Mexico
Awards: Grammy Award Winner
Albums: Santana, Festival, Marathon, Supernatural, All That I Am
Hits: "Everybodys Everything", "Winning", "The Game of Love"
There are few guitarists more influential than Carlos Santana. Through his band, aptly named Santana, the Mexico-born virtuoso became a pioneer in the fusion of rock, salsa and jazz music. Though known for a relatively quiet persona, Santana has been able to speak through his guitar for more than 45 years, and throughout his, and the band's, storied career he has created music that has appealed to fans across generations.
Santana broke onto the music scene with a now-legendary performance at Woodstock in 1969. Before then, they were relatively unknown and had yet to even release an album. However, thanks to the enthusiastic response to their set at the festival, their career soon took off, and their self-titled debut album became a huge hit thanks in large part to the single "Evil Ways," which cracked the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Over the next several years, Santana's popularity would only grow as they managed to bring salsa-infused music from niche corners of the music world into the mainstream. Perhaps one of their best known songs, "Black Magic Woman" is a unique cover of a Fleetwood Mac song that they made their own. As a result, the track reached the number one spot and remains a favorite among Santana fans. Soon after, Santana introduced pop music to the Tito Puente standard "Oye Como Va" which made it's way to number 13 on the charts.
Throughout the '80s Santana became lost to newer music fans and by the '90s the band's immense success of the '70s seemed all but forgotten. But that all changed in 1999 when their Latin groove was introduced to an entirely new group of fans. Santana paired with Matchbox Twenty front man Rob Thomas to record "Smooth," widely considered to be among the most popular songs of the decade. The duet, off the album Supernatural, won a trio of Grammy's including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Although it's been more than a decade since "Smooth," Carlos Santana and his band still hold an important place in music history. There were few bands before them who were been able to transcend genre's and fanbases, and there will likely be even fewer to do so in the future.
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