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.
From Abraxas - 1970 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
From Santana III - 1971 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
From Shangó - 1982 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
From Ultimate Santana - 2007 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
From Abraxas - 1970 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 in 1970. Watch: live performance of "Oye Como Va" at Tanglewood, 1970
From Supernatural - 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
From Santana - 1969 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
From Zebop! - 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"