Santana is a master of covering someone else’s song and infusing it with a unique flavor; “She’s Not There” is no exception. Written by Rod Argent and released by Argent’s band, The Zombies, in 1972, She’s Not There has been covered dozens of times by other artists, but none has had the success with it that Carlos Santana did.

Latin-Rock Video

Check out the new video for this guitar and percussion-driven song by the leading Santana Tribute and Latin-rock band.

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Actually, the original version was the first hit for the seminal ’60/’70s band The Zombies, and in fact was their only hit before Rod Argent split from the band to form the self-titled Argent. (The Zombies other smash single, “Time of the Season,” was released after Argent left.)

Moonflower Album
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Dominated by an electric piano (Argent’s Hohner Planet), the song includes a barely heard electric guitar track, as well as layered vocal harmonies throughout, in the somewhat dirge-like style favored by many folk bands at the time. The lead vocalist sings much of the song in a somewhat wispy falsetto, which adds to the unique timbre.

Santana’s version, released on 1977’s Moonflower, includes quite a few changes to the original arrangement. First is the distinctive riff that opens the song, played by guitar, bass and keyboards — complete with syncopated accents by the electric piano. When the verse comes in, the rhythm is played mostly by an organ. And the first verse starts with a descending chord pattern on Gm.

As with many Santana productions, the guitar appears only sparsely as a rhythm instrument. But Carlos’ riffing flows throughout the song, and his guitar melodies form an integral part of the piece. Predictably, his playing stays mostly in the Gm pentatonic scale, with a few notable exceptions that add to the hookiness of his parts.

Also added in Santana’s version of She’s Not There are a series of percussion breaks based around a bluesy riff, and two different guitar solos. The first starts with full-band stops, and the second happens after the percussion breaks. Carlos makes good use of the wah-wah pedal during both solos.

Vocally, there is no comparison between the two versions. Santana’s singer at the time, Greg Walker, had an incredibly powerful, soulful voice. It’s no wonder they left out the harmonies. Walker tears it up, and is the perfect complement to Santana’s wailing guitar tone.

She’s Not There become a hit for Santana, reaching #27, and driving the album, Moonflower, into platinum status — the last time that would happen until 1999’s Supernatural.

She’s Not There Lyrics

No one told me about her
The way she lied
Well, no one told me about her
How many people cried

Well, it’s too late to say you’re sorry
How would I know, why should I care
Please don’t bother trying to find her
She’s not there . . . oh oh oh

Nobody told me about her
What could I do
Well, no one told me about her
Though they all knew

Well, let me tell you about the way she looked
The way she acted, the color of her hair
Her voice is soft and cool
Her eyes are clear and bright
But she’s not there . . .

She’s Not There Chords

Verse 1
Gm – Gm7 – Gm6 – Gmb6
Gm – C – Gm – C
Gm – Eb – GPre Chorus
C – Cm – Gm – Dm7
C – Cm – Bb – D

Gm – C – Gm – Bb
Gm – C – Gm – Bb
Gm – C – G

Verse 2 / Solos
Gm – C