By Shirley Hawkins
Stanley Roberts, a reporter with KRON-TV in Oakland, Calif., was working on a story about illegal dumping when he ran into Marcus “The Magnificent” Malone, a homeless man living on the streets.
“At one time I was with the Santana band, the original Santana blues band,” Malone told KRON4. “Now I’m homeless and on the streets.”
Malone claimed that he had played congas with the Santana Blues Band in the late 1960’s and that the Afro-Latin band used to hold practice sessions in his mother’s garage. After investigating the story, Roberts found that Malone’s story checked out.
KRON4 facilitated a surprise reunion between Santana and his former bandmate, which was captured on video.
“That’s him, man. That’s magnificent Marcus Malone,” Santana said. “His spirit is indomitable.”
“You don’t know how afraid I am to let you see me,” said Malone, who was living in a camper, to Santana. Then the two old friends tenderly embraced.
“We cherish you,” Santana replied. “It’s an honor to be in your presence.”
Malone played congas on Santana’s first album, but left the band in 1969 when he was imprisoned for manslaughter. Santana’s band went on to play Woodstock and soon after the band rose to stardom.
Santana told the station that Malone was an important influence on his Afro-Latin sound and promised to bring Malone a set of congas to help him get on his feet.
“I want to offer him a place to stay in an apartment, get him some clothes, and just get him off the street,” Santana told CNN. Malone was also extended an invitation to Malone to play on Santana’s new album.
Since Malone’s story aired, other old friends have stepped forward to come to Malone’s aid. Percussionist Rod Harper, another original member of the Santana Blues Band, and producer Bobby Scott have expressed interest in reuniting with Malone.
Since the segment aired, Malone’s story has gone viral.
“We all have people in our family who get misplaced, not lost, but misplaced. A lot of people all over the world are connecting to this story,” Santana told KRON4.