Black Magic Woman (3:15)

Cover of Ultimate Santana

From Ultimate Santana and 231 other releases

“Black Magic Woman” is a song written by Peter Green that first appeared as a Fleetwood Mac single in various countries in 1968, subsequently appearing on the 1969 Fleetwood Mac compilation albums English Rose (US) and The Pious Bird of Good Omen (UK). It became a classic hit by Santana and sung by Gregg Rolie in 1970, reaching #4 in the U.S. and Canadian charts, after appearing on their Abraxas album, becoming more closely associated with Santana than Fleetwood Mac. In 2005 the song was covered by ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Snowy White on his album The Way It Is. In 1996 the song was also covered by Gary Hoey on his album Bug Alley .

Santana’s version, recorded in 1970, is a medley with Gábor Szabó’s 1966 “Gypsy Queen”, a mix of jazz, Hungarian folk and Latin rhythms. The song became one of Santana’s staples and one of their biggest hits. Abraxas reached #1 on the charts and hit quadruple platinum in 1986, partially thanks to “Black Magic Woman.” The Santana version is also used as a cover in the music/rhythm video games such as Guitar Hero III and Guitar Hero: On Tour.

While the song follows the same general structure of Peter Green’s version, also set in common time, in D Dorian and using the same melody and lyrics, it is considerably different, with a slightly altered chord pattern (D minor 7 | D minor 7 | A minor 7 | A minor 7 | D minor 7 | D minor 7 | G minor 7 | G minor 7 | D minor 7 | A minor 7 | D minor 7 | D minor 7). A curious blend of blues, rock, jazz, 3/2 afro-Cuban son clave, and “Latin” polyrhythms, Santana’s arrangement added conga, timbales and other percussion, in addition to organ and piano, to make complex polyrhythms that give the song a “voodoo” feel distinct from the original.[1]

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