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Album: AbraxasReleased: 1970Charted:
This was a hit for Santana, but few people know that this song is actually a cover of a 1968 Fleetwood Mac song that hit UK #37. Peter Green, who was a founding member of Fleetwood Mac, wrote the lyrics. The original's music sounds very similar to the sound Santana added on his version.
The 1:49 instrumental at the end is called "Gypsy Queen," and was written by Hungarian Jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo. It was omitted from the 1974 Greatest Hits album, even though radio stations usually play "Black Magic Woman" and "Gypsy Queen" as one song.
The original version is based on a blues song Peter Green wrote for Fleetwood Mac's first UK album called "I Loved Another Woman." Mick Fleetwood called the original version "Three minutes of sustain/reverb guitar with two exquisite solos from Peter."
The royalties generated by Santana's cover of this song helped sustain the song's writer, Peter Green, after he left Fleetwood Mac. Green gave most of his money away when he left the band, and would have found himself destitute later in the '70s if he didn't get checks from his old hits.
After this was released, Peter Green befriended some people who were into black magic. In an interview with Cameron Crowe of Rolling Stone magazine, Christine McVie said these were the people who turned him on to acid, which led to Green leaving Fleetwood Mac.
Santana keybord player Gregg Rolie sang lead on this. He joined Journey in 1973.
For this song's solo, Santana played across the Latin rhythm on his Gibson Les Paul Special through the amp and rode the volume knob throughout the track to add sustain and distortion as required.