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Profile of American Idol's Ruben Studdard, Clay Akiens; Profile of Carlos Sanatana

Aired March 13, 2004 - 11:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, it's the smash show that's become a fixture in American culture...


CLIVE DAVIS, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BMG NORTH AMERICA: As the television phenomenon, it's clearly captured the American public.


ANNOUNCER: ...making superstars out of the ordinary overnight.


RYAN SEACREST, HOST: It's a pretty quick way to stardom.


ANNOUNCER: It turned two unlikely guys into pop idols.


RUBEN STUDDARD, AMERICAN IDOL: I've always been a big guy and I've never let that slow me down.

CLAY AIKEN, AMERICAN IDOL RUNNER-UP: I didn't fit the pop star image and I'm, you know, kind of plain.


ANNOUNCER: From Simon's caustic comments to Hollywood renowned, the making of "American Idols," Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.

Then, he's a legendary musician who is back at the top of the charts.


CARLOS SANTANA, MUSICIAN: My body's 56. My soul is 17 years old and very hungry to learn.


ANNOUNCER: He grew up on the streets of Tijuana.


C. SANTANA: I started with a hat on the floor, a guitar, a harmonica player and a conga.


ANNOUNCER: He played Woodstock with the stars of the 60's.


SANATANA: It was kind of scary. Especially scary, if you're on mescaline or LSD, which I was.


ANNOUNCER: And rediscovered success with the stars of today. The spiritual and musical life of Carlos Santana. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi. Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Take a stage full of young, star-struck performers, three judges who critique and criticize their every move, add a nation of screaming fans, and what do you get? "American Idol," a television sensation and ratings bonanza. In the world of "American Idol," wannabes can be the next big thing overnight and they don't even have to win. Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken champ and runner-up both were unknowns. Now, they both are household names. Here's Kyra Phillips with the making of an "American Idol."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm the next American idol!

SEACREST: It's a door. It's a way into music. Be ready to sing a verse and a chorus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to be a superstar!

SEACREST: It's a pretty quick way to stardom.


DAVIS: As a television phenomenon, it's clearly captured the American public.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the phenomenon that has made pop stars out of complete unknowns.

R. STUDDARD: This year's been a whirlwind for me. It's phenomenal, man.

This is Ruben Studdard, you all, on the set of my new video, Bizarre 2004.

AIKEN: It's a lot really fast. And I wonder -- I mean, it seems a little -- like a little too much to be true.


PHILLIPS: "American Idol" Ruben Studdard and runner-up, Clay Aiken, were both long shots for pop star fame. Their appearances anything but idol-like, the anti-Justin and Britney. So who could have predicted this from these unlikely idols? Magazine covers and between them best selling singles and albums. Aiken's "Measure of A Man" with hits like "Invisible" soared to No. 1. And Studdard's soulful, including R&B singles; "Sorry 2004" became the third "American Idol" related album to open at No. 1. What goes into the making of an "American Idol? How have these unknowns transformed into mega-selling pop stars?

DAVIS: Everything is custom crafted, which it has to be. So the approach for Clay must be different from Ruben.

R. STUDDARD: See, I got my alpha hat on.

DAVIS: It must be different from Kelly. And you've got to take each order because each of those orders have to compete.

PHILLIPS: There have been awards. Aiken took home a Billboard for best selling single "This is The Night." And recently, Studdard was Grammy nominated for his hit single, "Super Star." CNN was with the idol winner when he got the news of the nomination.

R. STUDDARD: Aah! Aah! OK. I've got to call my mama, so we got to hurry up.

PHILLIPS: A Grammy nod, a No. 1 one album. It's certainly a long way from home for the idol dubbed the Velvet Teddy Bear.

Twenty-five-year-old Ruben Chris Studdard grew up in the heart of the south, Birmingham, Alabama, a city that has seen many changes since the racial tension of the '60s.

R. STUDDARD: It was not as bad as it was when my mother and father were in school. I never had to encounter any real racism, you know, during the time I grew up in Birmingham and everything is really just totally changed and the city is a real big melting pot right now.

PHILLIPS: Ruben was the younger of two boys, to mom, Emily, a teacher, and dad, Kevin an auto body shop owner. Reuben was the biggest kid on the block.

EMILY STUDDARD, MOTHER: He was a real toughie. I had to go to school to talk to the teachers sometimes for him for conduct and for a few fights but he was a typical little boy.

PHILLIPS: Ruben was a toddler when his family noticed he could sing.

E. STUDDARD: I mean I was in the choir at church and we all brought our children to choir rehearsal with us. And Ruben would sing along with the choir and he would sometimes hit the note that the adults couldn't hit.

KEVIN STUDDARD, BROTHER: He used to sing every song on the radio and it would drive me nuts. And, you know when we got home -- because I used to tell him to stop singing, please, you know, just stop singing. I'm tired of you singing. And then when we used to got home, I used to beat the crap out of him for singing all the way to the store.

PHILLIPS: It wasn't long before Ruben had the church choir solos. He sang in school and later formed his own gospel group. Ruben also showed talent on the football field. He played offensive lineman here at Huffman High.

CURTIS COLEMAN, STUDDARD'S FOOTBALL COACH: Well, he didn't really take football very serious. But, you know, we just told him, you know, he was going to have to play for us because he was too, you know, athletic, he was too big and he was too strong to sit on the bench.

PHILLIPS: Ruben went on to receive a full football scholarship at Alabama A&M University, but he had a rough time off the field when his parents divorced.

R. STUDDARD: Well, I was 18 years old and I was a freshman in college, so I thought I would be able to get over it pretty quickly but it really -- it affected me for a while.

K. STUDDARD: They're playing nice to us on the phone talking and I was talking to him about it, I mean, you know, just trying to tell him that everything was going to work itself out.

PHILLIPS: He was also having a hard time juggling football and his first love, music.

R. STUDDARD: When I first got to college, you know, football was really the main focus because that's how I was paying for my education, but I was a music education major. So the both of them were just so time consuming that they started to conflict.

PHILLIPS: Eventually, he chose music. He quit the football team his sophomore year. A year later, he dropped out of college to gamble on a music career. His family was crushed.

E. STUDDARD: My reaction was, you know, you go back to school. But at that time, he was 21 and there was nothing much that I could do.

PHILLIPS: Ruben continued singing gospel and led a jazz pop group.

R. STUDDARD: I was in a jazz and RB band called Just a Few Cats and we became the largest band in the city.

PHILLIPS: Three years later, an open call for a talent show called "American Idol" would change his life.

R. STUDARD: I watched the first season and I thought it was kind of cheesy like, you know, but I never thought I'd audition for it.

PHILLIPS: Coming up, Studdard eats his words. And later, could a dorky, goody-two-shoes steal Ruben's thunder?





AIKEN: I'm good with the looks today.

PHILLIPS: So who is this geeky, skinny guy stealing the spotlight from Idol winner, Reuben Studdard?

TOM ENNNIS, 19 ENTERTAINMENT: Nobody, I think, if they were being honest, would ever say, you know what, this kid is going to be a superstar.

AIKEN: He's a skinny, little, dorky kid from the south. He has a red neck accent, you know. What are we going to do with this guy?

PHILLIPS (voice-over): Here he is at an "American Idol" audition.

AIKEN: I'm the American Idol.

PHILLIPS: Since that time, 25-year-old Clay Aiken has transformed from Average Joe...

AIKEN: I'm really nervous.

PHILLIPS: idolized double platinum pop star.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I touched his hand.


PHILLIPS: A quantum leap from hick to hip.

Clay Aiken was born Clayton Grisome on November 30, 1978. He grew up here, in this wooded, middle class neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina.

AIKEN: As a child, you know, there was the putt-putt place and there was the Chuck E. Cheese and that was kind of a cool place to go to. I spent my childhood, you know, up to about 7, with just me and my mother. We had a pretty quiet deal going on, a pretty good routine.

PHILLIPS: Clay was raised mostly by his mom and grandmother. He spent little time with his real father.

FAYE PARKER, MOTHER: His father and I separated when he was a year old so he never got his father a lot, not by his choosing or my choosing. His dad just didn't come to see him.

PHILLIPS: His mom was an interior decorator for Sears. That's where Clay got his first taste in show biz.

PARKER: He was always talkative, always singing, very inquisitive. We used to take him to where I worked and the people there would put him on the counter and pay him to sing. So he'd stand on the counter. I guess I could say he got his start at Sears.

CATHERINE AIKEN, GRANDMOTHER: And he sang all the time. He'd sit in that little swing that he'd stop and he hooked a chain up. They said, "I can't swing" and Clayton would sing his little heart out.

PHILLIPS: He loved music and school but didn't take to sports.

AIKEN: My mom was always very supportive of what I did. And we tried the baseball thing for a while. My feet would go completely out of the side and I run like a weirdo. And so, you know, she didn't push me to do anything and she really never pushed me to do music.

PHILLIPS: Clay didn't have to be pushed. He joined the Raleigh Boys' Choir and won lead roles in high school musicals.

MARY PROPES, AIKEN'S FORMER TEACHER: Clay sang "This is The Moment" from "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and it was just -- it was a showstopper. And the kids knew it. And the audience knew it.

PHILLIPS: But offstage, there were troubles at home. Clay's attempt to establish a relationship with his real father, Vernon Grisome, failed.

AIKEN: There was a period where I saw him frequently and saw him regularly. But then when the relationship kind of soured some, I moved on, you know. I had what I needed at home.

PHILLIPS: In July's "Rolling Stone" magazine, Clay referred to his dad as a sperm donor and claimed that Grisome had been abusive towards his mother.

AIKEN: If anything, I think that I'm stronger for knowing him and knowing who he was and what I didn't want to be.

PHILLIPS: His dad died last week. Clay didn't attend the funeral. As a teenager, he had severed all ties with his father and changed his last name to Aiken. He also had a change of heart about music.

AIKEN: I think that my passion for teaching came out of one of those phases where I was tired of being known as the singer. So a friend convinced me to work with her at the Y just one evening a week. And I started working with her and loved it so much, I decided to do the summer camp program.

PHILLIPS: He went on to attend the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, with the goal of becoming a teacher. Clay became most interested in special education. He took a part-time job working with a 12-year-old autistic boy named Michael Bubel.

DIANE BUBEL, FRIEND: He knew about autism. He was very outgoing. One of the first things he said is, "I don't like to think of these children as being different. They're just kids and I'm excited to work with them."

AIKEN: Look at you! Look at you!

PHILLIPS: Meeting Michael's mom, Diane, changed the course of Clay's life. After hearing him sing, she convinced him to audition for "American Idol."

AIKEN: I was like, no. It's not in me to risk that and to take that type of -- to take that type of leap. I'm not that big of an entrepreneur. And she finally kept saying, "Listen, just go do it."

BUBEL: He's like, oh, they're not going to take me seriously, you know. I don't sing pop. You know I'm more of a crooner. And I don't have the image. I don't like anything like a Justin Timberlake, you know.

AIKEN: I'm signing my picture on "Rolling Stone." How crazy is that?

PHILLIPS: When we return, he's no Justin...

AIKEN: They're trying to make me look good. It's a hard job.

PHILLIPS: ...but he proves you don't need pop star looks to make it to the top...

AIKEN: I'm slipping. Hold on. Don't use that one.

PHILLIPS: ...and the judge who wrecked havoc on the idol.

AIKEN: It can be a little embarrassing when he tells you that he prefers you with his eyes closed. I think I prefer you with your mouth shut.


ZAHN: Clay and Ruben become the unlikeliest of idols when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, but first, we catch up with a few other Idol favorites in this week's "Where Are They Now?"


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be voted runner up in Idol's first season, Justin Guarini, released a self-titled album in June of 2003. Then, there was the release of the forgettable movie, "From Justin To Kelly.' Though Guarini was recently dropped by RCA after his debut album tanked, he signed with a new agent and is working on a new album.

And remember Frenchie Davis? She was booted from the second season of "American Idol" for posing on an adult website in 1999. In May of 2003, she made her Broadway debut in the long-running show, "Rent." And she just wrapped up a starring role in the musical, "Dream Girls" at theaters in San Jose, Sacramento and Seattle.

We'll be right back.





PHILLIPS (voice-over): They're two self-proclaimed mama's boys, unknowns who fast-forwarded into big-time celebrities. But for these unlikely superstars, the route to "American Idol" fame was anything but easy street.

R. STUDDARD: There was a lot of people crying and shaking.

K. STUDDARD: And I had a disturbing voice (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and he was like, you're not answering your phone. I'm cold. I'm hungry and it's wet out here.

AIKEN: I camped out for two days, so I was already stressed out enough.

PHILLIPS: Runner-up, Clay Aiken, was an "American Idol" reject in his own college town before landing on the show.

AIKEN: I didn't make it through Charlotte and I thought, OK, forget it. I'm not being turned down. I'm going anyway. So I went the next weekend to Atlanta.

PHILLIPS: Fellow southern, Ruben Studdard, never even planned to audition for "American Idol."

R. STUDDARD: I watched the first season and I thought it was kind of cheesy.

PHILLIPS: But when he tagged along to an audition with a friend, he couldn't resist a shot at fame.

R. STUDDARD: She asked if I would ride with her to Nashville to audition and I told her I would. And so, the next day we auditioned. I made it and I'm here.

PHILLIPS: After making it through the preliminary rounds, Clay and Ruben then faced the unnerving prospect of being scrutinized by Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and the infamous Simon Cowal. The judges didn't know what to make of the nerdy kid with the Coke bottle glasses.

AIKEN: I just kind of went in and said, well, let's have fun with it. You know you're going to get cracked on. You know they put you through because you have to leave the glasses on and you look like a little dweeb.

PHILLIPS: The heavy-set guy from Alabama certainly didn't fit the pop star image either.

R. STUDDARD: I've always been a big guy and I've never let that slow me down.

SIMON COWELL, JUDGE: After about the third day, I turned around to Paula and Randy, and I said, "It's very interesting. We've got a different competition this year. We've got image over talent." And I had feeling that talent was going to win this year.

PHILLIPS: Cowal still lived up to his reputation as America's most feared judge.

AIKEN: The only time on the show that I ever got nervous was right before he spoke because you never know what's coming out of his mouth. And you know you're on TV in front of 28 -- 40 million people every night. It can be a little embarrassing when he tells you that he prefers you with his eyes closed.

PHILLIPS: Both Ruben and Clay survived Cowal's criticism and made it through the show's final round. Clay's looks began to change over the weeks.

RANDY JACKSON, JUDGE: See, he's just got the Ryan Seacrest do. He's got sort of a Ryan type of shirt. Yes, he's got some of my kind of shows and yes.

PARKER: He's been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that some of those hairdos that you're doing don't look too good to me. "Mom, let me just be me."

SEACREST: The winner of "American Idol" 2003 is Ruben Studdard.

PHILLIPS: After weeks of grueling competition, more than 25 million viewers watched as Ruben was crowned America's idol. He edged Clay out by less than one percent of the vote. Both idols were awarded recording contracts. Now came the bigger challenge of converting them from "American Idol's" into bonafide pop stars.

DAVIS: They have to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) separately so that for Clay to compete today in his own way, you know, whether taking the best of songs, coming out of the Barry Manilow tradition but showing he can compete against a Justin Timberlake. For Ruben, we could rap. With him, we could do hip-hop. With him, we could do classic soul.

PHILLIPS: But both idols struggled with record execs about certain image tweaks. Ruben came close to quitting when managers tried to tailor his album to a pop audience. And Clay resisted when execs insisted he needed to change his clean-cut aim image to sell records. He hesitated to take on a bad boy persona during the making of his first video. And despite the record label's urging, Clay refused to incorporate racy material into his act.

AIKEN: I don't want to sing a song about sex and you know, things that I don't see -- I'm not going to have dirty language on the album.

PHILLIPS: Image would come up again when Clay's sex life came into question. In "Rolling Stone," he hinted he's a virgin and he can't seem to get away from the question, is he straight or is he gay?

AIKEN: I just don't understand what motivates people to care. Because I'm a mama's boy and because I'm not exposing my private life to anybody and because I'm not sleeping with everybody, they make assumptions, which to me is, again, one of these things that's a pain in the rear end to get used to.

PHILLIPS: In the end, the record labels compromised, allowing the idols to keep their identities. Ruben as a smooth R&B singer...

R. STUDDARD: So, you all watch.

PHILLIPS: ... and Clay, the family-friendly pop star.

ENNIS: If I've learned anything from "American Idol" is that you can't shove down the America's publics' throat what your perception is of what someone should look like or what they should sound like or who they should be.

PHILLIPS: Te marketing strategy paid off. Both idols have enjoyed No. 1 singles and albums. And Clay upstaged the idol winner when his debut hit became the best selling single of 2003.

R. STUDDARD: I mean, being No. 2 is not that bad on the charts. You're selling 600,000 singles is a feat that nobody really accomplishes these days and, you know, Clay sold now 900,000, but that's OK.

PHILLIPS: But both idols have given a major boost to the recording industry, a business that has suffered big losses from online downloading.

ENNIS: People who have not been in the record stores for years because either they don't know where one is or they're just going online have now gone back into the record stores to buy Clay Aiken records, to buy Kelly Clarkson records, to buy "American Idol" records.

PHILLIPS: Hit records. Magazine covers. Photo shoots. Why do these unknowns resonate so loudly with the American public?

ENNIS: It proves that you can't fit people into a mold. They are not what you would think your average pop star would be. So, who is to say what is right and what isn't right and what is appealing and what isn't appealing?

R. STUDDARD: For you all, don't I look nice?

ENNIS: I maintained that the "American Idol" process just sort of throws all of that stuff out the window.

PHILLIPS: Regular guys transferred into America's idols, now superstars basking in the spotlight, taking nothing for granted.

R. STUDDARD: I never dreamed of doing anything else than what I'm doing and you know I'm just happy to be in the position that I'm in.

AIKEN: Every day I wake up, it's new and different. Who wouldn't like to have people cheering for you? I feel very lucky.


ZAHN: Clay Aiken is currently on tour with fellow Idol star, Kelly Clarkson. He's also about to release the second single from his double platinum CD, "Measure of A Man."

Ruben Studdard, meanwhile, just kicked off his own 19-city tour.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up, from the streets of Tijuana to Woodstock to today's pop charts, the resurgence of a music legend.


C. SANTANA: To me, it's been a wonderful experience. I can look at the camera and say the best has yet to come.


ANNOUNCER: Carlos Santana's musical and spiritual journey when PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns.



ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Carlos Santana is a true rock n roll survivor. Distinct, colorful and hugely successful, Santana went from '70s super stardom to near obscurity in the 1980s. Well now, after four decades in and out of the spotlight, he is back from the brink and reconnecting with a whole new generation of fans. Here again is Kyra Phillips.


PHILLIPS: It's music with a world beat from a legend who flavors his rhythms with a heavy dose of spirituality.

C. SANTANA: If you listen to the inner voice inside your heart, if you follow your light, if you live your light, you're going to be rewarded.

PHILLIPS: Carlos Santana is at the pinnacle of a 40-yearlong career.

DAVID WILD, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": This guy, you know, it just flows out of him and it's been blowing for decades and decades. And you know he has a sort of fire in him, a musical fire. PHILLIPS: A fire that has burned in the Mexican-born musician from his career-making performance at Woodstock. To his current come back, collaborating with some of today's hottest stars. But Santana's latest project reaches far beyond the pop charts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Carlos and Deborah are giving the entire net proceeds of the U.S. Summer Santana Shaman Tour to launch ANSA Amandlar AIDS Foundation.

PHILLIPS: ANSA stands for Artists For A New South Africa. The group's focus has moved from fighting apartheid to fighting AIDS.

C. SANTANA: We invite you to join us in spreading a spiritual virus.

DESMOND TUTU, ARCHBISHOP: It's just a fantastic thing because it is going to save lives. It is, I hope, going to galvanize people.

PHILLIPS: But Carlos Santana wasn't always in a position to give his money away.

C. SANTANA: When we first landed in Tijuana from Autlan Jalisco in '55, we lived, not even a year, in a house with no running water, no electricity and so it smells the same thing in Tijuana or Hong Kong or India or Africa. Poverty smells the same.

PHILLIPS: Carlos was just a young boy when he moved to Tijuana with his parents and siblings.

C. SANTANA: But just because you're poor doesn't mean you have to be dirty. You know, my parents always made sure we were clean and that we had clean thoughts and stuff that like that.

PHILLIPS: It was here that he would first pick up a guitar; a major influence was his father, a popular mariachi violinist.

C. SANTANA: My father turned me on to European music, very sophisticated music. Later on, when we came to Tijuana he taught me traditional Mexican songs. But what I received in my DNA from my father is charisma. My father has a lot of charisma. My mother has a lot of conviction. So between charisma and conviction, viola, you know, you have me.

PHILLIPS: Santana's first gigs were hardly glamorous.

C. SANTANA: I started playing in the streets of La Cajara (ph) Revolution, which is like a Broadway, you know. Then later on, I graduated and went to the -- inside the strip joint.

WILD: Clearly, you know, in Tijuana he probably met some sordid characters. And what better preparation for rock and roll could you have?

PHILLIPS: But young Carlos met one character who left lasting scars. In a 2000 interview with "Rolling Stone," Santana admitted he had been sexually abused by an American man almost every other day when he was 10 to 12 years old. It was a trauma that haunted him throughout his life.

DEBORAH SANTANA, WIFE: I think dealing with something that you have felt shame about is so important to healing. So for me, I saw him be able to not feel bad about himself anymore.

PHILLIPS: While he suffered in silence, Santana turned to music. As he listened to American radio stations on the border, Santana's traditional Mexican music began to merge with jazz, blues and rock.

WILD: You can't define his music and it wouldn't -- it's not worth doing. He's a guy who draws upon a whole world of music.

PHILLIPS: In the early '60s, Santana brought his distinctive sound to the United States, moving to San Francisco where his father had been playing. The music scene was jumping. And Carlos found a hang out at the Fillmore West.

C. SANTANA: I probably shouldn't say this because my kids are going to see it, but I rarely showed up at school. You know, I cut school a lot. I was always hanging out at the Fillmore West. Some people, they graduate from Stanford or Harvard, or you know -- my university was the Fillmore West. And I can say that I graduated with the highest of honors.

PHILLIPS: He formed his own band called the Santana Blues Band in 1966. Two years later, Santana would realize his dream of playing the Fillmore West. He was hired by the club's legendary promoter, Bill Graham.

WILD: Bill Graham loved sort of Latin music and jazz; and I think he was a very sophisticated cat. But truthfully, the rock world of the late '60s was not that worldly. And here comes Santana bringing this stew of music. And somewhere along the line in between Tijuana and Fillmore West, I think he learned how to please a crowd.

PHILLIPS: When we come back, Santana pleases the crowd at Woodstock during the drug-induced haze of the 1960s.

C. SANTANA: The neck of my guitar, it looked like an electric snake.




PHILLIPS (voice-over): Just a year after playing at San Francisco's Fillmore West, for the first time in 1968, Carlos and his band played a slightly larger venue in upstate New York.

C. SANTANA: We arrived like around 11:00 in the morning by helicopter because you couldn't drive in. It was a disaster area. All the freeways were parking lots.

PHILLIPS: They were virtual unknowns sharing the stage at Woodstock with rock giants. It was all captured in this documentary: "Woodstock, Three Days of Peace and Music."

WILD: It really was, I think, where Bill Graham, you know, showed a bit of genius. I think it was -- you know, there were a lot of big names at Woodstock. But I think very few people had the impact of one performance ever. But their performance at Woodstock really did introduce them to a generation.

PHILLIPS: It was a chance of a lifetime for Santana. The nervous musician performed "Sole Sacrifice" in a psychedelic haze.

C. SANTANA: When we arrived, to see a living organism of flesh and eyes and hair, teeth; literally an ocean of living people, it's kind of scary. Especially scary if you're on mescaline, iowaska or LSD, which I was. But at the same time, I kept hearing myself say to myself, please, God, keep me in time and in tune. I'll never do this again. Of course, I lied.

But at that moment, I wanted -- I said God, please; help me just to stay in time and in tune because the neck of my guitar, it looked like an electric snake. It wouldn't stand still. First of all, you know, the neck is supposed to be like solid. But my guitar was moving all over the place.

So now when I see that video, I can see where I'm making such ugly faces. You know, because I'm kind of like trying to control this guitar and to stand still and don't move around so much. And anyway, you know, I have great memories of Woodstock.

PHILLIPS: On stage and off, Santana immersed himself in the drug culture.

C. SANTANA: I got to see there was a lot of people like myself who were smoking pot. "Sacred Sacrament" as Bob Marley would say and we opposed the Vietnam War. And it felt really encouraging to know that I wasn't alone, that a lot of people, kindred souls like myself, you know, we didn't have to hide in allies anymore to do the sacrament. Just like they drink wine at church every Sunday, you know, it's the same thing when you smoke a joint. It's no different, man.

PHILLIPS: Santana's performance at Woodstock solidified his place on the soundtrack of the '60s generation. His first two albums "Santana" in 1969 and "Abraxas" in 1970 went multi-platinum with classics such as "Evil Ways" and "Black Magic Woman."

WILD: Carlos had the sort of instant flowering with the early Santana band. That band, you know, those first few records, that's where all those classics came from. Albums like "Abraxas," that just -- they're still stunning and they're magnificent. And the albums after are really amazing and out there.

You know, I think he's one of those many people who at the end of '60s and early '70s started sort of taking music in every direction that interested them.

PHILLIPS: Like Santana's music, his life also began changing direction. In the mid-1970s, Santana was disillusioned with the music scene after the drug related deaths of fellow musicians like Jimmy Hendrix and Janice Joplin.

He left the drug culture for the teachings and meditations of eastern spiritual leaders, Sri Chinmoy. But the guru was just one of Santana's spiritual paths.

D. SANTANA: We'd accepted a lot of different teachings because I was raised a Christian. And we have moved beyond and through Buddhist thought and Native American thought. And we continue to grow and just try to touch more of who we are inside, what our essence is and why we're here.

PHILLIPS: Though he's no longer a disciple of Sri Chinmoy, Carlos Santana continues his spiritual exploration.

C. SANTANA: Live your light and Jesus will be cheering for you. He's no bigger than us and we're not bigger than him. We embody the same light. And to me, if you live your light, Jesus will give you a high five when you get to the other side. Sometimes take the time to ask yourself what religion is God?

PHILLIPS: Coming up, Santana's slide off the pop charts and what propelled him back to the greatest commercial success of his career.

WILD: He had his first success in like '69. And here we are still talking about him as a contemporary artist. I mean that doesn't happen.




PHILLIPS (voice-over): Santana had found success at Woodstock and in his early releases. But as the 1970s became the 1980s, his career slowed.

WILD: After the initial success, there were years of ups and downs, but mainly sort of plateauing. There really were a couple of hits; I guess, at the end of the '70s, early '80s. And then after that it was really where things sort of slipped.

PHILLIPS: His 1987 solo effort, "Blues For Salvador" was on the Billboard Charts for just one week at No. 195. He was on his way to rock obscurity.

WILD: I mean there's virtually no artist for whom it doesn't slip. And he was fortunate enough and talented enough to be a major, live draw, always. But the remarkable thing is the second life. The second coming, it just doesn't happen.

PHILLIPS: And it didn't just happen. It took the return of long time music producer, Clive Davis, to marry Santana's guitar with the voices of today's most popular artists.

WILD: It's not surprising that Clive Davis would have him working with all these cool, young acts. The surprise is how brilliantly it works because that sort of thing traditionally has never worked. But I think between the two of them, they had such a great sense of the songs, and a sense of keeping Carlos' integrity through these collaborations that it worked.

PHILLIPS: Santana teamed up with eight artists to release "Supernatural" in 1999. It was an instant success.

C. SANTANA: The CD before "Supernatural," we sold 500,000 copies worldwide. Five hundred thousand copies. We were sold out in a week, you know. For I forget how many months, we sold 25 times platinum and I think it's still going.

PHILLIPS: Santana used the same recipe for success in 2002 with his album, "Shaman," working with artists from famed tenor Placido Domingo to alternative rockers, POD.

C. SANTANA: My body's 56; my soul is 17 years old and very hungry to learn. It's not a gimmick, gizmo, gadget or formula. Basically, it's the principle to compliment. Compliment whatever they put in front of me. Even to the point of silence. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything. But if you're prepared to compliment, you're going to be around for a while.

PHILLIPS: Santana's success with new artists also meant a new generation of fans. Songs like "Smooth," featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 and the "Game Of Love" featuring Michelle Branch became favorites on radio station play lists.

WILD: The kids that bought, you know, "Smooth" weren't giving him extra credit for having been at Woodstock. I mean if anything, they're like, you know, he could have easily been seen as old and in the way. But instead, you know those songs just spoke to everybody.

PHILLIPS: With two hit records under his belt, Santana has hit the road again returning to his live roots.

C. SANTANA: Peace, peace, in the Middle East.

WILD: You will see everyone at a Santana show, which wasn't true, you know -- 15 years ago, I went to a Santana show when it really was a bunch of classic old rock fans. But you go to a Santana show now, you'll see, you know, the whole family. You know, you'll see kids to grandmas. And that's very appropriate for the music he makes.

PHILLIPS: It takes five trailer trucks and tons of speakers to make Santana's sound come alive. But it's people like drum tech, Davey Crockett, who make the experience possible. He's been on the road with Santana for 25 years.

DAVEY CROCKETT, DRUM TECH: Carlos is the kind of guy, you know, who makes a difference, you know, not just in his music, but in his actions. He does stuff, you know, for the betterment of people, you know? And there aren't many artists, you know, that take that much compassion and enjoy in doing what he does.

PHILLIPS: Touring is important but Santana says his first priority is his three children and Deborah, his wife, of 30 years.

C. SANTANA: I would never envision myself with anyone other than Deborah. So for us, sacred is not Jerusalem or the Vatican or Stonehenge. Sacredness to us means the family.

PHILLIPS: He limits his touring to four or five weeks at a stretch, leaving plenty of time for his home life.

C. SANTANA: Yes, whatever rock star, go take the garbage out. You know and I'm not what I do. This is what I do but this is not who I am. I'd rather be that other person who is like this with Deborah. You know, eye-to-eye contact.

PHILLIPS: The family man is also a music icon. One who has come a long way from playing in the streets of Tijuana.

C. SANTANA: I started with a hat in the floor, a guitar, a harmonica player and a conga. We say 50 cents a song, mister, 50 cents a song, mister. I'm the same person. The hat just got really, really, really big.

PHILLIPS: The hat's gotten bigger thanks to Santana's distinct sound, a style still infused with his characteristically cosmic, spiritual views.

C. SANTANA: It's easier for me not to get so caught up with guilt, shame, judgment, condemn and fear cage. Because that's exactly what it is, man. Guilt, shame, judgment, condemn and fear, get rid of that skin, man. That's an old skin.

The new skin is beauty, elegance excellence, grace, dignity. I salute you and invite you to discover your own new skin. Peace.


ZAHN: Santana's latest U.S. tour raised $2.5 million dollars to help fight AIDS in Africa. He's also working on a new CD, which is due out late this year or early next.

That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week, Kobe Bryant on the court and in court, the latest on basketball's troubled all-star.

I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us, hope you'll be back with us next week.

ANNOUNCER: For more celebrity news, pick up a copy of "People" magazine this week.


Profile of Carlos Sanatana>

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