Carlos Santana: “Guitar Heaven … The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time”

Carlos Santana knows a bit about classic songs: After all, he’s made a few of them himself, from “Oye Como Va” to the more recent “Smooth.” But for his latest album, the guitar god took on some timeless songs from others.

“Guitar Heaven … The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time,” was created by Santana and music mogul Clive Davis as a collection of covers of some of the best known songs in rock. “These songs … to me, are like women that belonged to Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton,” said Santana in a recent interview. “I had the courage to take them out on a date. I feel very grateful, and pretty certain that if I take them out they will go out with me again.”

The guitarist paired up with several singers on the album. Chris Daughtry helps provide an updated version of Def Leppard’s “Photograph.” Gavin Rossdale lends energy to T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong” and a soulful India.Arie gives the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” an earthy vibe.

Santana is also working on original material. The album “Shape Shifter” is set for release next spring.

Before that, though, he’ll take on something closer to his heart: Santana and Cindy Blackman, his drummer, plan to marry Dec. 19 in Maui, Hawaii.

“I am thankful to God for sending me a queen once again in a different form,” Santana said, smiling. “We offer each other everyday something that goes, ‘First time ever, everything.’ First time ever, always. First time ever, always signifies that we give ourselves to each other with purity and innocence. With these elements one can create a relationship that is magical.”

Blackman is a jazz and rock drummer who worked with Lenny Kravitz, among others. In 2007, Santana was divorced from Deborah Santana after 34 years of marriage.

Santana is also ready to make a biographical film about his life. After being approached by Hollywood many times, Santana has given brothers Peter and Benjamin Bratt the green light. Benjamin Bratt is set to star in and direct the film, aiming for release in 2011.

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