When a band releases 36 albums over the course of 43 years, it isn't easy culling out 10 that qualify as the best of the best. But we'll try.
Like virtually all classic rock bands, Santana
's greatest success has been selling albums and performing killer live shows, but most of the songs on the list were also successful singles.
It won't surprise me if you have Santana favorites that aren't on the list. Please feel free to add them below.
Abraxas - Columbia/Legacy
Peter Green wrote "Black Magic Woman" and Fleetwood Mac
released it as a single in 1968. But the version most people remember came along two years later when Santana paired it with "Gypsy Queen" and released it on their second studio album. Lead vocalist at the time was keyboardist Greg Rolie.
Watch: live performance of "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen"
at Tanglewood in 1970
Santana III - Columbia/Legacy
From Santana III
On his first album as the second lead guitarist, Neal Schon (who jumped, with Greg Rolie, from Santana to Journey
in 1973) soloed on "Everybody's Everything." The album went to #1. The single peaked at #12.
Watch live performance of "Everybody's Everything"
at Montreux Jazz Festival in 1996
Santana - Columbia/Legacy
After the crowd reaction the song drew at Woodstock
, it was little wonder that "Evil Ways" was featured on Santana's debut album a few months later. It quickly became Santana's first Top 10 single.
Watch: live performance of "Evil Ways"
at Woodstock, 1969
Shango - Columbia
Santana's cover of this song, written and first recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Thomas
, was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lackluster decade for the band. "Hold On" was the most popular of three singles from Shangó
, peaking at #15 on the Billboard
Hot 100 singles chart.
Watch: live performance of "Hold On"
at Us Festival, 1982
Ultimate Santana - Arista
From Ultimate Santana
Originally recorded for 2005's All That I Am
, this song, featuring vocals by Nickelback's Chad Kroeger
, wasn't released until two years later, as an original track on the Ultimate Santana
compilation album. It made it as high as #26 on the singles charft.
Watch: live performance of "Into the Night"
at Live Lisboa, 2006
Like "Evil Ways" and "Black Magic Woman" this song is one of those most closely associated with Santana. Tito Puente
wrote it in 1963, but it has been a Santana signature song since appearing on their second studio album, Abraxas
Watch: live performance of "Oye Como Va"
at Tanglewood, 1970
Supernatural - Columbia/Legacy
- 1999 Rob Thomas
co-wrote and sang "Smooth" on Santana's 1999 comeback album, Supernatural
, on which a number of contemporary artists from various genres collaborated. In addition to staying at #1 for 12 weeks, the song won three Grammy awards. It was Santana's first ever #1 single, their previous highest charting having been "Black Magic Woman" which peaked at #4.
Watch: "Smooth" music video
Columbia / Legacy
Another song from Santana's Woodstock set that has become a trademark, the instrumental "Soul Sacrifice" was another natural selection for the band's debut album. In addition to the guitar artistry, the song's drum solo also put the spotlght on the youngest artist to perform at Woodstock, 20-year-old Michael Shrieve.
Watch: live performance of "Soul Sacrifice"
at Woodstock, 1969
Zebop! - Columbia
- 1981 Zebop!
was the last Top 10 album Santana would release for the next 18 years. The success of Supernatural
in 1999 broke a five-album losing streak. Much of Zebop!
's success came from the success of the single, "Winning," which peaked at #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
Watch: live performance of "Winning"
Marathon - Columbia
"You Know That I Love You" was the first single off of 1979's Marathon
. It made it to #35, and, perhaps in an effort to not tempt fate, it would be the only single from that album.
Listen: "You Know That I Love You"