The name Carlos Santana evokes something almost immediately. Not only do you think of the world’s best guitar players, not only do you think of psychedelic, burning hot tracks like “Black Magic Woman,” and not only do you think of the sweetness and kindness, but you think of that sound. That syrup-dipped guitar tone that both cries and dances.
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From the Bay Area, Santana made a name for himself in San Francisco during the ’60s and played the original Woodstock. He enjoyed another huge duration of fame in the 1990s with the release of Supernatural, which featured many artists that you’ll read about below.
To date, the artist has won 10 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Here are his 10 best songs.
1. “Black Magic Woman”
Released in 1970 from Santana’s LP, Abraxas, “Black Magic Woman” was originally written by U.K. artist Peter Green. Fleetwood Mac released it in 1968. Santana made it his own, along with the help of singer Gregg Rolie. The song hit No. 4 in the U.S.
2. “Oye Coma Va”
Also released in 1970 by Santana on Abraxas, “Oye Como Va,” originally written by Tito Puente, hit No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.
3. “Evil Ways”
Another made famous by Satana, “Evil Ways” was the artist’s first hit, released on his self-titled debut record in 1969. The song was originally written by Clarence Henry, and recorded by Willie Bobo in 1967. The song was Santana’s first top 40 hit, hitting No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
4. “Love of My Life”
The second song from Santana’s 1999 hit record, Supernatural, “Love of My Life” features Dave Matthews. It’s a love song, as the title might suggest, sung with Matthews’ smoky vocals.
5. “Soul Sacrifice”
An instrumental number, “Soul Sacrifice” was performed at Woodstock in 1969. It became a fan favorite from the legendary music festival. The song comes from the musician’s 1969 self-titled debut LP.
6. “Maria Maria”
Written by a handful of artists that included Wyclef Jean, Herry Duplessis, Santana, Karl Perazzo, and Raul Rekow, the track samples a song by the Headhunters, “God Make Me Funky.” The song won a Grammy Award in 2000 for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Released on the 1981 album, Zebop!, “Winning” was first written by Russ Ballard for his 1976 album, Winning. Santana’s rendition hit No. 2 on the Mainstream Rock Chart and No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.
8. “Everybody’s Everything”
From the 1971 album, Santana III, “Everybody’s Everything” was the first single to be released. The song hit No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Perhaps the first song people think of when they consider Santana today, “Smooth” was everywhere in 1999 and for several years after. Featuring Rob Thomas from the rock group Matchbox Twenty, the track was featured on Supernatural. It also hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100… for 12 consecutive weeks.
10. “Santana Celebration”
The second track from Santana’s latest record, Blessings and Miracles, “Santana Celebration” is an exultant guitar-based song that will flip your lid.
Photo by Roberto Finizio / Jensen Communications