Classic Rock

Birthday ‘Blessings’! Carlos Santana turns 75 today

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Here’s wishing a supernaturally happy birthday to Carlos Santana, who turns 75 today.

The legendary guitarist helped create a groundbreaking fusion of rock, blues, pop, Latin music and jazz with his namesake band Santana.

Santana came to global prominence after an incendiary performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival, which showcased Carlos’ blistering and intense playing. The group’s self-titled debut album came out that same month, featuring classics like “Evil Ways” and the instrumental “Soul Sacrifice.” The band’s next two studio albums, Abraxas and Santana III, topped the Billboard 200 and included such hits as “Black Magic Woman,” “Oye Como Va” and “Everybody’s Everything.”

From the early 1970s through the ’90s, Santana’s lineup changed frequently as the band’s popularity fluctuated.

Santana was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, then experienced a huge career resurgence thanks to 1999’s Supernatural. The album, which featured Carlos and company collaborating with various guest artists, yielded two #1 hits — “Smooth” with Matchbox Twenty‘s Rob Thomas, and “Maria Maria” with Wyclef Jean and The Product G&B. Supernatural topped the Billboard 200 for 12 nonconsecutive weeks and went on to win nine Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.

More recently, Santana was saluted at the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in 2013.

Santana’s latest album, Blessings and Miracles, was released in October 2021. Following a similar template to Supernatural, Blessings and Miracles features collaborations with various guest artists, including Thomas, Steve Winwood, Metallica‘s Kirk Hammett and Diane Warren.

On July 5, Santana collapsed onstage during a show in the Detroit suburb of Clarkston, Michigan — reportedly because of heat exhaustion and dehydration — leading him to postpone a series of shows. The band currently is scheduled to return to the road this Saturday, July 23, in Paso Robles, California.

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