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Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana poses with his guitar wearing a news cap and button-down shirt.

(b. 1947)


Biography current as of induction in 2011

Delivered with a level of passion and soul equal to the sonic charge of his guitar, the sound of Carlos Santana is one of the world’s best-known musical signatures. For over four decades, Carlos has been the visionary force behind music that transcends genres as well as cultural and geographical boundaries.

After first rising to fame during the late ’60s San Francisco Bay area music scene, Santana emerged onto the global stage with an epic set at Woodstock ’69, the same year that his self-titled debut LP came out.  Featuring Santana’s first hit, “Evil Ways,” the album stayed on Billboard’s album chart for 2 years and was soon followed by two more classics – and Billboard #1s – Abraxas and Santana III.

Over the last 40 years of his career, Santana has sold more than 90 million records and reached over 100 million fans in concerts around the world. To date, he has won ten Grammy Awards, including a record-tying nine for a single project for his 1999 release Supernatural (including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for “Smooth”). In 1998, Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked him at #15 on the list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” and #90 on the 2005 list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

With his latest album release in 2010, Santana joined the ranks of the Rolling Stones as the only two musical acts in chart history to score at least one Top 10 album in every decade since the 1960s. In 2009, Santana was the recipient of Billboard Latin Music Awards’ Lifetime Achievement honor, and in 1996, Billboard’s Century Award.

In 1998, Santana established The Milagro Foundation, a non-profit entity designed to support underserved children and youth through funding arts, education and health around the globe.

View more inductees from the 6th class, inducted in 2011.