Some grinchy types don’t believe Christmas miracles can happen any more, but don’t tell that to Carlos Santana.
The 66-year-old musician and Santana frontman was recently watching the TV news in his hometown of San Francisco when he spotted a familiar face.
The local station KRON 4 was airing one of its weekly “People Behaving Badly” segments, which in this instance featured a brief interview with former percussionist Marcus (The Magnificent) Malone.
As Malone told the KRON 4 reporter Stanley Roberts, he was a founding member of the Latin-influenced rock band when it began in 1967 and played with them for two years.
But Malone had a bad break. A few months before Santana’s appearance at the Woodstock music festival in 1969 – the performance that launched the band onto the world stage – he got into trouble with the law and went to jail, which in turn got him thrown out of the band.
And ever since his ignominious fall from grace, Malone has been homeless, wandering the Bay area, working day-labour jobs and living off the charity of strangers.
Santana was astounded to see Malone on the news report and phoned the station to seek assistance in tracking down his old bandmate. The station arranged an emotional reunion of the pair last weekend. You can watch the original KRON 4 segment and followup report here.
“You don’t know hard I prayed to get to see you,” a tearful Malone told Santana.
And the best part of the entire story is that now that the pair have been reunited, Santana has no intention of losing touch with Malone again.
“I want to offer him a place to stay in an apartment, get him some clothes and just get him out of the street,” Santana told CNN on Sunday. “I want to offer my brother Marcus Malone an opportunity to record on the next album with the original band.”
Santana, who was at the White House to receive Kennedy Center Honors two weeks ago, says he plans on getting congas into Malone’s hands soon so they can begin recording as early as next month.
And to all a good night.