Santana History

Your Postcard from

Ethnic celebrations have always been a part of the happenings in The City. This past weekend’s “SF Cinco de Mayo Festival” was produced in Dolores Park by Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc., a social services organization that started in 1959.  KQED produced a documentary film in 1994 about the Mission that says, “By the 1960s, the Latin identity of the Mission was firmly established, and it has become a political and cultural center for the fastest-growing minority group in the United States. Interviews with artists and activists, including Mexican Museum director Marie Acosta-Colon, painter Rupert Garcia, and musician Carlos Santana help bring the story to the present day.”

Santana spent his teenage years in the Mission, graduating from Mission High School in 1965. His first band was called the “Carlos Santana Blues Band” and was formed in 1967. The group’s first audition was at the Avalon Ballroom in the late summer of 1967. It did not go well.

After the audition, it is reported that rock promoter Chet Helms told Santana that the band would never make it in the San Francisco music scene playing “Latin fusion” and suggested Santana keep his day job washing dishes at Tick Tock’s Drive-In on 3rd Street.

Not taking that advice, Santana continued to produce his music. Here is an audio clip from the album, “Live at the Fillmore 1968” and  the song is, “Conquistador Rides Again.”