It was a star-studded night on Thursday, Dec. 8 when the inductees showed up on the red carpet for the 2011 California Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium. Carlos Santana was a no show on the carpeted event, but did make his presence later for his work as Latin rock’s enduring pioneer. What began as a pet fundraising project for the former First Lady of California, Maria Shriver, was to raise money for the California Museum. In 2006 the California Hall of Fame was created with the first inductees being Clint Eastwood and Walt Disney.
Now in its sixth year the ten inductees, including Carlos Santana, featured The Beach Boys, basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson, novelist Amy Tan, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher, activist Father Gregory Boyle, advocate Ed Roberts, scientist Elizabeth Blackburn and a posthumous award for California Supreme Court Justice Robert Traynor. Governor Jerry Brown spoke eloquently about the following “This is a place where people found gold, where people created the movie industry, where Facebook and Apple were founded.”
Each of the inductees came out to make a speech (see video). Santana, who is more comfortable playing the guitar than speaking from a podium, talked about all of his musical and political influences from living in San Francisco’s Mission District that ranged from other Latin artists and the genres of blues and jazz great Miles Davis. He later described other musicians like Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Coltrane and yours truly, which brought some laughs, as having a universal tone that touches everyone. Santana stated further “because in one note you know who they are.” Later on musicians The Beach Boys and Santana performed a tribute to the Blues Brothers. The 2011 California Hall of Famers presented personal artifacts now on display at the California Museum in Sacramento.