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Music / Santana

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And it's just like the ocean under the moon
Oh, it's the same as the emotion that I get from you
You got the kind of lovin' that can be so smooth, yeah
Give me your heart, make it real, or else forget about it
— "Smooth" featuring Rob Thomas

Santana is a Latin rock band formed in San Francisco in 1967 by lead guitarist and namesake Carlos Santana. They first gained recognition after playing at Woodstock 1969, and became famous for their fusion of rock, salsa and jazz music, which is credited with pioneering the Chicano rock sound along with War and Malo (featuring Santana's brother Jorge Santana).

Their popularity dwindled after The '70s, but they made a huge comeback in the late '90s with the Supernatural album and the hit single "Smooth."

Throughout their history, Carlos Santana has been the band's only permanent member. In fact, he preferred the Revolving Door Band approach, since he desired working with a large lineup of top musicians; these musicians have included percussionist Armando Peraza, bassist David Brown, and drummer/singer Buddy Miles. Also worth noting is that in 1973, former Santana members Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie formed Journey, which started out as a Santana-like band but went on to become one of the biggest Arena Rock bands of The '80s.

Also, from the Supernatural album through All That I Am, lead vocals have (mostly) been provided by a rotating roster of guest musicians.


  • Santana (1969)
  • Abraxas (1970)
  • Santana (1971)note 
  • Caravanserai (1972)
  • Welcome (1973)
  • Borboletta (1974)
  • Amigos (1976)
  • Festival (1977)
  • Inner Secrets (1978)
  • Marathon (1979)
  • Zebop! (1981)
  • Shangó (1982)
  • Beyond Appearances (1985)
  • Freedom (1987)
  • Spirits Dancing in the Flesh (1990)
  • Milagro (1992)
  • Supernatural (1999)
  • Shaman (2002)
  • All That I Am (2005)
  • Shapeshifter (2012)
  • Corazon (2014)
  • Santana IV (2016)
  • Africa Speaks (2019)

Provides examples of:

  • The Bus Came Back: Santana IV features the reunion of most of the original Santana band from their first three albums: Santana himself, plus Gregg Rolie, Neal Schonnote , Mike Carabello and Michael Shrieve.
  • City Shout Outs: When the band played at Woodstock 1969, after the opening song "Waiting", Carlos Santana greeted the crowd and had a brief moment of confusion over what state he was in.
    Carlos Santana: Thanks very much. It's nice to be here in New York. Are we— we are in New York? Yeah...
  • Cover Album: Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time
  • Cover Version: Many of their songs on the early years, including "Black Magic Woman" by Fleetwood Mac, "Oye como va" by Tito Puente, "She's Not There" by The Zombies (originally appearing on Begin Here), "Stone Flower" by Tom Jobim and "Promise of a Fisherman" by Dorival Caymmi.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: He named his band after himself. Justified as this was per musicians' union rules requiring an established band leader.
  • Epic Rocking: "Soul Sacrifice" and "Dance Sister Dance (Baila mi hermana)", among others.
    • The entire first side of "Caravanserai" is mixed together as a suite, with the highlight being the 6 minute instrumental "Song Of The Wind", which consists almost entirely of guitar soloing.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: The instrumental "Soul Sacrifice" has one after about five minutes; a repeated keyboard theme fades out, then the guitar brings it back in, going on to a keyboard-hammering sound and a reprise of the main theme, then to another fake outro with a sudden stop, and then the real outro comes in.
  • Genre Mashup: Rock, salsa, blues,... it is all mixed together.
  • Genre Roulette: Shaman, big time.
  • I Am the Band: Carlos Santana is the only stable member.
  • Instrumentals: A lot of their work. "Soul Sacrifice", "Europa", and "Samba pa' ti" are among the more well known ones.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Supernatural and All That I Am, and even moreso, Shaman. Of course, given Carlos doesn't sing, there's always gonna be many a Guest-Star Party Member, but those were intentionally built on famous collaborators.
  • Revolving Door Band: The band's website has a list of the many former members.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Black Magic Woman" is almost never played on the radio without its outro "Gypsy Queen". They're even indexed as one track on CD versions. On Abraxas, this fades into "Oye como va", but these are generally played separately on the radio.
  • Song Style Shift: Their version of "Black Magic Woman" speeds up for an epic instrumental outro, due to it being a medley with "Gypsy Queen", originally by Hungarian jazz guitarist Gábor Szabó.