Carlos Santana took the music world by storm back in 1969 with his thrilling performance at the Woodstock festival. He was the first guitarist to skillfully blend fiery rock riffs with Latin, blues and sensuous Afro-Cuban rhythms to create a unique and unforgettable sound. His vision to create innovative melodies has earned him a magnitude of critical praise and acclaim over his illustrious career. But, the road to success has been a rocky, uphill climb.
The middle child of seven children, Carlos Santana was born on July 20, 1947 in a tiny Mexican village where the homes were comprised of brick and mud, and there was no running water or lights. But, what his parents couldn't give in material wealth, they heaped upon their children in love. It was after the family moved to Tijuana that twelve year old Carlos developed his talent for the guitar and his reputation as a formidable musician spread.
In 1968 Columbia Records signed on the Santana Blues Band and they began in earnest to work on an album that would include such popular Latin and soul favorites as "Black Magic Woman," "Evil Ways," and "Oye Como Va". On August 15, 1969, the Santana band was given the opportunity to play Woodstock before the release of their first album and this performance would forever be etched in fans' minds as a key moment in rock history. The Santana Blues Bands went from obscurity to instant recognition. Shortly thereafter, rumblings of discontent were echoed within the group with the volatile mixture of drug abuse, personality clashes, and the frustrations over the musical direction the band, ultimately leading to the demise of the group.
Following the breakup, Carlos Santana delved deeper into the meditative arts and spirituality. The succession of albums that followed were greeted with critical acclaim, but moderate success. In the late 90's, Santana begin working on a new album under the creative direction of Clive Davis, head of Arista Records. In a brilliant union of collaborating with younger artists as Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Rob Thomas, the album, Supernatural was a commercial smash. It sold over thirteen million copies, and appealed to both the baby boomers and the teenage crowd. Carlos Santana became the star of the 2000 Grammys, and Supernatural won several awards including, Best Rock Album of the Year, Song of the Year for "Smooth", and Album of the Year. With a career that spans three decades, Carlos Santana has proven that talent, determination, and passion are the keys to longevity in a business that is obsessed with youth and beauty. Against the odds, he has defied the rule of convention and made an incredible comeback. His story is timeless, inspirational, and he has undoubtedly proven himself to be the king of the guitar.
Carlos: The perfect subject for this kind of book
By D. Pauldine - November 18, 2000
True Santana fans will question whether or not Carlos ever fell to begin with. However, BACK ON TOP is an appropriate title for those who measure success by commercial standards. Who can question that SUPERNATURAL, and the multiple Grammy awards it brought, was indeed a return to the top for this incredible artist.Mr. Shapiro's election to follow a chronological sequence in the writing of this book is helpful to the reader. After all, the professional and personal roller-coaster that is Carlos' life can best be felt if the story that unfolds follows the very way in which it all happened. Shapiro did this well.Things to like about the book include a fairly well chronicled capture of the early years. How the original Santana Blues Band came to be is quite a story. Even those who know the story will find the references to such legends as Bill Graham, Paul Butterfield, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Tito Puente, Willie Bobo, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and the... read more
Lacking in substance
By Enrique Torres "Rico" - March 6, 2001
Well if you read the first reviewer and the editors opinion than you pretty much have the essence of the book. I finished this book in two sessios of a few hours one Sunday. Was it the speed reading course I NEVER took? It is simple reading, maybe for simple minds like mine that just want to know more about a man whose story I grew up with. The problem is there are few revelations, a few tid bits but nothing of any substance. So why read it? I dunno, curiosity? You keep turning the pages anticipating something real "juicy", some insight, some rock stories but it just isn't there. It is more like a trip down memory lane on the autobahn, you start and before you know it you're there, done. It seems the author wrote this book by speculating on his research. Sure the life of Carlos is chronicled but much too superficially. The problems with the original Santana members is discussed but most who grew up with Santana are aware of this history. Also reference to drug use is... read more
Carlos Santana: Back on Top
By A. Adjemian - September 8, 2009
As a Santana fanatic, I found this book extremely dissapointing. Major chunks are lifted directly out of older material. In addition, there were some major factual errors. One of them that set off an immediate Red Flag was Shapiro naming Fred Catero as "Fred Castro". Catero was the Sound Engineer and was responsible for the phenomenal sound of Abraxas.
Also, the author basically copied an excellent article from Ben Fong-Torres--formerly with Rolling Stone--word for word.
To get the same exact information provided in this book is to simply Google Carlos Santana wiki as well as Ben Fong Torres, archived information.
An EXCELLENT book I would recommend is "Voices of Latin Rock," by Jim McCarthy. This book contains original photos, interviews with original Santana band members, including their extended families. There is much more information gleaned out of this last book and well worth the $10.00. Save your money and don't buy Shapiro's book.
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