Santana Proposes to Girlfriend at Chicago Show

Plus: guitarist reveals details of new covers album, potential collaboration with Steve Winwood

July 12, 2010 6:46 PM ET

Last Friday, Santana shocked the audience at a Chicago concert by proposing to his girlfriend Cindy Blackman four songs into the show. Following her solo during the tune "Corazon Espinado," Santana popped the question and she accepted, prompting the crowd to erupt into cheers. "Cindy and I are blessed to have found each other," Santana said of Blackman, who is best known as the drummer in Lenny Kravitz' "Are You Gonna Go My Way" video. "Being in love is a gift from the universe, and the spirit and vibrations that come with it are infinitely powerful. I look forward to expressing that incredible energy through my music, and in helping to tip the balance toward more love in the world with what Cindy and I share."

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Santana is currently prepping his next record with iconic record man Clive Davis, who produced the guitarist's Grammy-winning multiplatinum smash Supernatural. Guitar Heaven: Santana Performs the Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time (out September 21st) finds the musician mining similar terrain of albums like Supernatural, with Santana collaborating with guests vocalists like Pat Monahan, Joe Cocker, Gavin Rossdale and Rob Thomas. The album will feature Santana covering classic rock songs like "Little Wing," "Back in Black" and "Sunshine of Your Love." "This is basically a vision from Clive and at first I told him, 'I don't know if I want to do this, man — this is intense," Santana tells Rolling Stone. "These songs are like Mona Lisas. They're masterpieces. But Clive was very gentle and I said, 'If you believe in this, I'm going to go for it.' So, I dated the Mona Lisa. And I found out she's a freak!" While recording the album, Santana adds that he had one goal in mind: to appeal to his female fans. "The guys will come along once the females are all completely aroused," he says. "Which is what we do with the music, so I pay attention to the groove to make the females aroused in a beautiful way."

Even though Guitar Heaven hasn't hit stores, Santana is eyeing his next project: a possible album with Steve Winwood, who he's touring with this summer. "I asked in a very gentle respectful way if we could do something together, but not playing Stevie Winwood's music or my music," says Santana. "Just completely go to the other side of the railroad tracks." In the meantime, Santana will spend the rest of the summer on the road, including an eight-date stint at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, where the guitarist will be performing sets comprised of his greatest hits.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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