Santana recruits Nas and Daughtry for covers album

Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:52pm EDT
 
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By Gary Graff

DETROIT (Billboard) - Carlos Santana was initially intimidated by mentor Clive Davis' pitch for his next album -- another "Supernatural"-style all-star collaboration, but this time on a collection of iconic rock songs by the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and others.

"I was like, 'No, I don't know if I want to do this one, Clive. This one's a little challenging,'" the guitarist and bandleader told Billboard.com.

"And he would stay on the phone for at least 45 minutes to an hour, three times in one year, and I was like, 'Oh, lord...' But then I started realizing that someone with that intense passion of commitment couldn't be wrong, so I had to trust him. And it was incredible."

The album -- Santana's first since "All That I Am" in 2005 -- is due out in September and is not yet titled. The track list is being finalized as well, but during sessions Santana reunited with "Smooth" partner Rob Thomas on Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" and worked with Joe Cocker on Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing," Scott Weiland on the Rolling Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," Chris Daughtry on Def Leppard's "Photograph," Soundgarden's Chris Cornell on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," Papa Roach"s Jacoby Shaddix on Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" and rapper Nas, who lays down rhymes on AC/DC's "Back in Black."

Santana chose half of the songs while Davis, Sony Music's chief creative officer, picked the other half. Davis, who originally signed Santana in the 1960s, masterminded his 1999 comeback "Supernatural," a worldwide smash that also garnered nine Grammys.

"What I brought to the table is my heart, knowing that I complement, I don't compete," Santana said of the recording sessions. "I brought my heart, trusting that there's enough in me of purity and innocence and genuineness that I couldn't possible, excuse the expression, f--- it up. I know Eric (Clapton). I know Jeff Beck. I know Jimmy Page. And they know me. I have supreme certainty and confidence that they're going to say, 'Hey man, I love what you did with my song."

While he considers ever song "incredible," Santana said his very favorite is the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," which he recorded with India.Arie and cellist Yo Yo Ma.

"I sent the song to George Harrison's widow, Olivia, and I got back an email that says, 'Carlos, I listened to the song and I started crying and jumping with joy at the same time. And I want you to know that George really loved you, because he understood your passion for compassion.' And I was like, 'Bam!' that's like George Harrison himself, through his beautiful wife, validating my existence and what I did with that song."   Continued...

 
<p>Guitarist Carlos Santana performs during a concert at Olympic stadium in Athens, July 8, 2009. REUTERS/John Kolesidis</p>