|July 20, 1947
|Mexican-American Guitarist, Music Artist, Songwriter,
Bandleader, Film Score Composer
Carlos Santana is a Mexican and American musician. He is popular and famous all over the world. The guitarist rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band Santana. The band pioneered a fusion of rock and roll and Latin American Jazz. After many years in the business, Carlos Santana’s wealth is over $80 million. How he earned it? Let’s take a quick look at his career.
In the beginning, Santana and his band invented a sound featuring his melodic, blues-based lines set against Latin and African rhythms. They placed on percussion instruments which were unknown to the rock genre. Some of their instruments included congas and timbales. In the late 1990s, Carlos Santana experienced a resurgence of popularity.
In 2015, the Rolling Stone magazine listed him at No.20 on the list of 100 greatest guitarists ever. So far, he won 10 Grammy Awards, three Latin Grammy awards, and many other achievements. Santana got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Santana started his career in the 1960s and 1970s. Before he started his career, he listened to artists such as B.B. King and T-Bone Walker in the 1950s. Soon after he started playing guitar. As a result, he joined local bands along the Tijuana Strip. There, Carlos developed his own sound.
In his early days, Carlos got introduced to different musical influences. Some of them include jazz, folk music, and the hippie movement. He worked as a dishwasher in a diner and busking for spare change. In the early 1960s, he left work to become a full-time musician. In 1966, he got selected as part of the ad hoc band to substitute an intoxicated Paul Butterfield at Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium.
During the same year, Carlos and his fellow street musicians formed the Santana Blues Band. Original members include David Brown bass guitar, Marcus Malone percussion, and Gregg Rolie lead vocals.
The band got their first contract with Columbia Records. The label shortened their name to Santana. In January 1969, they went into the studio to record the first album. The band shifted members, welcoming Jose CHepito Areas and Mike Shrieve.
Santana benefited from their friendship with major rock music promoter Bill Graham. He was a fan from their start and arranged for the band to appear at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival. This was before their debut album saw the light of the day. Santana was the surprise of the festival.
Their performance at Woodstock introduced the band to an international audience. The sudden success had good and bad sides. While success was great, it also put pressure on the group.
In September 1970, the band released their second album, Abraxas. With a mix of blues, jazz, rock, salsa, and other genres, the album topped the Billboard chart for six weeks. This album includes two of their most famous hits, Oye Como Va and Black Magic Woman. The album spent 88 more weeks on the Billboard charts.
In 1971, guitar prodigy Neal Schon joined the band. This was before their third album. With a powerful dual-lead guitar act, the album produced a tougher sound.
During this period, the tension between members continued. The bigger problem was drugs. That was on top of musical differences. Santana worried that drug and musical differences affect the band’s performance.
In early 1972, Santana and the remaining members worked on their fourth album, Caravanserai. They brought in other musicians during studio sessions. The album marked a strong change in musical direction towards jazz fusion.
The 1970s marked a confusing period for the band. Carlos shifted members and formed different versions of the band. In 1973, he obtained legal rights to the band’s name. The albums through the 1970s worked in the same formula. They were a jazz fusion albums. But there were several lineup changes.
In the 1980s, Santana and the band changed to more radio-friendly singles. With the album Havana Moon, the band revised some of the early experiences in Tijuana. The album included mariachi orchestra as well as a tribute to early rock roots.
During the 1980s, Santana grew weary of trying to appease record company executives with formulaic hit records. As a result, he made guest appearances on other jazz fusion groups for jam sessions.
In 1990, he left Columbia Records after 22 years and signed with Polygram. Carlos kicked off the 1990s with a new album titled Spirits Dancing in the Flesh. He followed it up with the Milagga album, live Sacred Fire album, and Brothers. While the albums got great critique, sales were relatively poor.
He spent the late 1990s touring without new album releases. Eventually, he got left without a contract. Thankfully, Clive Davis of Arista Records signed him. Clive encouraged Santana to record a new star-studded album with younger artists. The result is Supernatural, an album with collaborations with Lauryn Hill, Eric Clapton, KC Porter, Rob Thomas, and more.
The lead single of the Supernatural albums, Smooth, grabbed the attention of fans and music industry. The album won nine Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. Santana spent much of the 2000s collaborating with other artists.
In 2014, he released his first-ever Spanish language album, Corazon.
Carlos Santana’s fortune is over $80 million. He earned most of his money through music, record sales, and touring. But he got involved in other businesses as well.
In 2007 he opened his first of a chain of upscale Mexican restaurants called Maria Maria. He collaborated with Chef Roberto Santibanez. They own a handful of restaurants throughout the southeast and southwest in the United States.
In 2014, he published his memoirs under the title The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light.
Santana played with a lot of different guitars throughout his career. He played on a red Gibson SG Special at the Woodstock Festival. During the next few years and the release of Abraxas, he played on Gibson Les Pauls and a black Gibson SG Special. He endorsed the Gibson L6-S Custom in 1974. From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, he switched to a Yamaha SG 175B.
Lately, the famous guitarist uses a Santana II model fitted with PRS Santana III nickel covered pickups. And for a classical guitar, he often uses the Alvarez Yairi CY127CE with Alvarez tension nylon strings.
Net Worth, Earnings and Income
More than forty years in the music business, Santana sold more than 100 million records. Santana has as many albums as years in the business. The singer reached more than 100 million fans at concerts as well.
His career spans more than 50 years. Santana exemplified Latin rock and diversified it into other genres. Some of his most famous songs include Smooth, Oye Como Va, Samba Pa Ti, Everybody’s Everything, Soul Sacrifice, Black Magic Woman, and more.
Three of his songs peaked at Number 1 on the Billboard charts. Those are Smooth, Why don’t You and I, and The Game of Love. Other high-charting songs include I’m Feeling You, Into the Night, Just Feel Better, and Maria Maria.
Carlos Santana is far behind the richest guitar players despite having an $80 million in cash flow. Paul McCartney is the richest guitarist with a wealth of $1.2 billion. Santana cannot crack the top 10. Jimmy Page, the founder of Led Zeppelin is Number 10 on the list with $170 million.
Born in Mexico, Carlos moved to San Francisco in the early 1960s. At this point, he already played the guitar professionally. In 1965 he got American citizenship. Carlos and Deborah King got married in 1973. They have three children together. In 2007, Deborah filed for divorce after 34 years of marriage.
Santana then proposed to Cindy Blackman in 2010. They got married by December 2010. They live in Las Vegas.
Carlos Santana bought the home in Las Vegas in 2013 for $6 million.