Some critics have been dismissive of Carlos Santana's more recent pop explorations, but there's no denying the Mexican-born guitarist helped change the course of rock music since first appearing on the scene in the late '60s. Since forming Santana, the band, in 1967, Carlos has helped introduce Anglo audiences to the Latin rhythms via his group's heavily percussive compositional style. With their 22nd studio album, Corazón, hitting stores last week, NUVOtv is taking a look through their discography to see what the Top 5 Best Santana Songs are.
Appearing on Santana excellent III album, "Everything's Coming Our Way" is a percussionist lover's dream. Michael Schrieve, Jose Areas, Mike Carabello, Rico Reyes, and Thomas Escovedo, all credited for percussion on the recording sessions, it's not clear who did what, but the track's infectious rhythms never let up.
An instrumental track, "Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile)" is beloved by both hard core fans of Santana and classic rock radio programmers alike. Carlos played the original idea for the song during a sound check while on tour with Earth, Wind & Fire in the mid'70s. Then Santana band keyboardist, Tom Coster, helped the guitarist flesh the song out and the rest was history.
Originally written and recorded by legendary Puerto Rican percussionist Tito Puente, "Oye Como Va" perfectly encapsulates the Santana sound: a combination of Carlos' electric guitar, the Hammond B-3 organ and driving percussion. Walk through any inner-city neighborhood in the summer and there's a good chance you'll hear "Oye Como Va" blasting out of a passing car or someone's backyard BBQ.
The highlight of Santana's set during their breakthrough performance at Woodstock in 1969, "Soul Sacrifice" finds Carlos and his crew in absolute beast mode. The way Carlos and keyboardist Gregg Rollie play off each other, and the song's percussion patterns, is a masterclass in Latin rock. It's no surprise the blistering instrumental remains in the band's live set all these decades later.
Even though it was originally written by guitarist Peter Green, and recorded by his then band, Fleetwood Mac, in 1968, history has shown that Santana's cover of "Black Magic Woman" is the one that will be written in the history books as the definitive version. Carlos' infusion of Latin rhythms into the original version's more jazz-rock leanings gave the song a unique feel that appealed to a cross-section of music fans. It's no wonder "Black Magic Woman" remains a radio staple on rock, pop and jazz stations throughout the globe.