Carlos Santana Sells Out Hard Rock Live

What might sound to you like just a fiery, Latin-fusion guitar solo peeking through the verse and chorus of that new chart-topper by [insert pop star here] is, in fact, the sound of Carlos Santana making more money.

The guitar pioneer has helped to cast the mold for the modern musician turned mogul. He dresses like an actual pimp and has more cameos on other people's tracks under his belt than anyone, maybe ever. In recent years, Santana also marketed a line of signature-model guitars that helped put Paul Reed Smith Guitars on the map, codesigned and branded a line of women's shoes, and played the role of booze tycoon with his tequila company. Take that, Jay Z!

However, there is so much more to Carlos Santana than dollar signs and megahits.

While it'd be easy to shame him for his seemingly unquenchable thirst for subpar collaborations and pop sensibilities, the blistering performance the guitarist gave at Woodstock -- bolstered by the classic Santana lineup -- is counted by many as a zenith moment in electric guitar history. It juts out proudly from beneath the pile of pop cameos and sellout business ventures to this day.

Santana is a major philanthropist too. And the man is responsible for the formation of Journey by including Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon in his own band back in the day (making him basically responsible for providing drunken girls with the anthem that is "Don't Stop Believin' "). Let's not forget the joy he brought your mom with "Smooth," her absolute favorite tune to dance to at weddings and bar mitzvahs in the early 2000s.

So, while you may not be digging on Santana's output as of late, show the man some respect. After all, there are reasons Santana already sold out his Friday-night show at the Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood and can pull off 80-date residencies at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Santana. 8 p.m. Friday, May 2, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Show is sold out. Call 954-797-5531 or visit

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David Von Bader