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GREGG ROLIE :: Blog

The Real Story of the Santana Blues Band

Wednesday, November 18: 10:07 p.m.
Posted by Shelby Morrison
Gregg Rolie thanks the audience at the AMM Janis Joplin Tribute Concert on November 14, 2009. Photo:

There are few things better that come out of our education programs than the real “behind the music” style stories shared by the artists and musicians who we celebrate. Such a story was told to me this past weekend by the co-founder and lead singer of Santana, Hall of Fame Inductee Gregg Rolie when he was in town to perform with fellow Inductee Michael Carabello for our 14th Annual American Music Masters series honoring Janis Joplin.

In most of the biographies you will read about Santana, they are rather ambiguous about the details of how the band was actually formed. You read about how Gregg Rolie and Carlos Santana were both in San Francisco in the 1960’s and then magically, there was Santana. When Gregg Rolie said to me, “you know how Santana really formed, don’t you?…it was in a tomato patch.” I knew I was about to be let in on a rock and roll secret.

This is how it really happened.

The origins of the Santana Blues Band, which later became just Santana, lie in a chance meeting between keyboardist and lead singer, Gregg Rolie and guitarist, Carlos Santana. The two knew of each other ...


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