Guitar legend Carlos Santana has a legacy of recording music that goes back 40 years. Here are some facts about some of Santana’s Albums, from the 1969 debut to 2008’s Ultimate Santana.
Taking the world by storm with their appearance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, Santana released their debut album a few months later. Featuring classics like “Evil Ways” and “Jingo,” the record is still vital.
Following up their success of their debut less than a year later, Santana released what is arguably their best album, containing the ultimate Santana classics: “Black Woman Woman” and “Oye Como Va.”
Although it didn’t have the bright, spirited soul of the debut, or the pop polish of Abraxas, Santana’s third album is a wonderful demonstration of a band in transition. Originally called simply Santana but later referred to as Santana III, this record features a very young Neal Schon (later of Journey fame).
Santana’s fourth album represented a sharp change of direction, into the world of the jazz-rock fusion that was seminal during the early ’70s. Armed with a band that was composed of largely different members, Carlos Santana entered a territory that was fairly new to the world at large, and certainly new to him.
Joining forces with fusion phenomenon John McLaughlin, Carlos Santana pushed his chops to the limit for this experimental, mostly improvisational album. Ostensibly a tribute to jazz great John Coltrane, Love Devotion Surrender was important to Santana’s development as a player in that it expanded the boundaries of his technical abilities.
Another transitional album, where some original band members are supplemented with newer players, like conguero James Mingo Lewis. Has Santana returning to some of the pop feel that originally launched the band
A combination of live and studio performances, this album introduced the world to “She’s Not There,” Santana’s cover of the Zombies hit written by Rod Argent. Classics like “Black Magic Woman” and “Europa” were captured in front of a concert audience. This album was also the last to achieve substantial sales numbers until the launch of Supernatural
Has the band moving from their pop format to the rock genre which would appear during the late ’70s and early ’80s. Carlos strays from his core guitar style with some unusual tones.
One of Santana’s strongest albums, with Carlos and the band in fine form, and some nice touches by brother Jorge Santana.
Sparking the mother of all career revivals, Supernatural catapulted Carlos from a slow descent into obscurity into the spotlight — with a vengeance. The brainchild of record label maven Clive Davis, it paired Santana with a host of other artists, producing “Smooth,” “Maria Maria,” and other hits.
While not reaching the stratospheric heights of Supernatural, Shaman was successful in its own right. Here, Carlos repeats the collaborative formula, albeit with younger artists. Most notable release: “The Game of Love” featuring Michelle Branch.
Using the same formula as the previous two albums, Carlos once again collaborates with other artists, albeit not with the same success. On the positive side, he seems to have assembled a killer band which appears all over this record.
Bookends Santana’s career, by including his earliest classic songs, as well as later hits. A good vehicle to bridge the gap between fans of his two career peaks.
Odd project album where Santana covers a collection of iconic guitar songs, from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” to “Dance the Night Away” by Van Halen.