Playlist: 10 Mindblowing Tracks From Santana's First Three Albums


Jail sentences, drug busts, sackings, spiritual awakening… In his band’s turbulent early years, Carlos Santana did more than just invent afro-Latin rock fusion. Here’s 10 highlights…

Waiting (from Santana)
First album opener, filled with Gregg Rolie’s wonderful swirling Hammond.

Soul Sacrifice (Santana)
Everything that is early santana, funnelled into one exhilarating, percussion-packed track.

Incident At Neshabur (Abraxas)
Unusually ‘jazzy’ for the band at this stage. Great for an open road with the top down.

Jungle Strut (Santana III)
Two guitars and Hammond trade blows, while rattling percussion cheers them on.

Jingo (Santana)
Thumping, primal beat, overlayed with Carlos’s trademark high-fret scream.

Persuasion (Santana)
Urgent, insistent, with build/release dynamics and stabbing Hammond/guitar interplay.

No One To Depend On (Santana III)
From a heavily Latin mid-tempo song to a fiery, twin-guitar workout and back again.

Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Abraxas)
Latin-flavoured cover of Fleetwood Mac’s original, with a guitar frenzy tagged on.

Batuka (Santana III)
Percussion-led smoulderer, until the guitars are finally let off the leash.

Toussaint L’overture (Santana III)
Free-flowing, percussion-powered workout that santana do so well and like no one else.

My First Love: Rob Trujillo on Santana’s Abraxas

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.