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Music / Santana

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Santana circa 1971
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 U.S. Latin rock band formed in 1967 by lead guitarist and namesake Carlos Santana. They first gained recognition after playing at Woodstock, and became famous for pioneering a fusion of rock, salsa and jazz music. They became pioneers of 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 their only permanent member. The Revolving Door Band approach was preferred by Carlos Santana, who desired working with a large lineup of top musicians, including 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.

Original Albums

  • Santana (1969)
  • Abraxas (1970)
  • Santana III (1971)
  • Caravanserai (1972)
  • Welcome (1973)
  • Borboletta (1974)
  • Amigos (1976)
  • Festival (1977)
  • Inner Secrets (1978)
  • Marathon (1979)
  • Zebop! (1981)
  • Shango (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)



  • 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 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.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually between 1 and 4, while their harder songs hit 5. Their heaviest song is probably "America" (a Heavy Metal song featuring P.O.D.), which falls around 6 or 7.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Rock, salsa, blues,... it is all mixed together.
  • 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.


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