Black Magic Woman

Album: Abraxas (1970)
Charted: 4


  • 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 #37 in the UK. Peter Green, who was a founding member of Fleetwood Mac, wrote the lyrics.

    Many also don't know that Santana started out as a blues band, just like Fleetwood Mac. "I used to go to see the original Fleetwood Mac, and they used to kill me, just knock me out," Carlos Santana said in the book The Guitar Greats. "To me, they were the best blues band."

    Santana put their own spin on the song, incorporating Latin textures, but they kept the basic sound from the original intact.
  • The 1:49 instrumental at the end is called "Gypsy Queen," and was written by the Hungarian jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo. It was omitted from Santana's 1974 Greatest Hits album, even though radio stations usually play "Black Magic Woman" and "Gypsy Queen" as one song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jim - Oxnard, CA, for above 2
  • 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.

Comments: 23

  • Howard from St. Louis Park, Mn I have heard Santana's version many times and to me it's a prime example of Carlos Santana's outstanding guitar work. Today, it is a memory of Peter Green, who wrote the song when he was an original member of Fleetwood Mac.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaStratis, I've been know to feel that way about a cool looking car and I don't consider myself materialistic.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 10th 1971, "Black Magic Woman" by Santana peaked at #4 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on November 8th, 1970 and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100 (and 7 of those 13 weeks were on Top 10)...
    Was track two of side one on the group's 2nd studio album, "Abraxas", and on October 8th, 1971 the album reached #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    One other track from the album also made the Top 100, "Oye Como Va"; it peaked at #13 and stayed on the Top 100 for 10 weeks...
    Carlos Santana will celebrate his 67th birthday this coming July 20th.
  • Eric from Nyc, Ny@- wyatt, anywhere, United States

    Santana sued Budweiser because they copied his arrangement of Black Magic Women. Two people can record a song and have it come out very different. I was watching a show years back were a band played country songs in a blues style and blues songs in a country style. It was very enlightening.

    A modern example of this is Hayseed Dixie's covers of heavy metal songs in a bluegrass arrangement.

  • Barry from New York, NcSantana has played this song just about every concert since 1970. One day there might be a concert where Carlos Santana will throw down his guitar, yell "I CAN'T STAND THIS %!@$!$ SONG ANYMORE!!!" and leave the stage in a fit. I bet he loathes the moment in the show when it's time to play "Black Magic Woman" for the millionth time!!!
  • Larry from Los Angeles, CaThe outro section features a smoking timbale solo by Santana percussionist extraordinaire Jose "Chepito" Areas.
  • Ryan from Anahola, HiThis song is in Guitar Hero: On Tour and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
  • Bill from Mill Valley, CaWhen Peter Green's Splinter Group did a show at Bimbo's in San Francisco about ten years ago, Carlos joined them on stage for "BMW".
  • Jennifer from Nashville, TnSantana's cover was decent, but I've always preferred the original by Fleetwood Mac. I love the Blues sound it has.
  • Timothy Day from Norman, OkBarry NYC, Mick Fleetwood has the original version. And, having seen both versions live, the Santana version took not just one drummer to cover Fleetwoods work. I thoroughly enjoyed both versions. It's also interesting that Peter green moved towards some more 'Latin' beats after he left Mac.
  • Barry from New York, NcI think Mick Fleetwood's drumming in the original "Black Magic Woman" is all wrong for the song. Mike Shrieve of Santana does a subtler job.
  • Wayne from Salem, VaThis was an original Fleetwood Mac song written by Peter Green. It was on their "English Rose" album. Which is now titled "The Pious Bird Of Good Omen".It was just a basic track for them. A short and sweet rock song. Santana took it and expanded on Peter Green's hauntingly beautiful guitar chords. Santana did a great job on it. And strangely enough it is their most well-known and popular song. Give a listen to Peter Green's Original Fleetwood Mac do this live. It is on their "Live At The Boston Tea Party"-Vol.1 cd. They really rock it! Much more so than their original album version. The Live At The Boston Tea Party series by the way is 3-cds.It is all good.To get the full length Santana version of "Black Magic Woman" by Abraxas over any of their Best Of collections.
  • Edwin from Vancouver, BcEverytime I hear this song I am reminded how bad some of his newer material is in comparison. This is one of the sexiest tunes ever recorded.
  • Francis L. Vena from New York City,, NyVintage Santana at his best- the solo at the end
    is mezmerising- it sounds like a Santeria ceremony- By the way Santana had a relative of
    his form a band called Malo- there song
    Sauvecito is a beautiful latino rock song-flv
  • Wyatt from Anywhere, United StatesGood to see Peter is getting credit for his work here, he was and still is a great player, though I think he's probably happier now that he can play without all that pressure to be comercial. I could never decide who is the best but he feeling Peter put into his music is something that always send shives up and downmy spine. I saw him not too lang ago ina club in San Francisco and he's still good, though not much cansurpas his early days with Fleetwood Mac. I have to admit I was rather irritated when Santana tried to sue, I think it was budwieser, for the use of this song when it wasn't even his to sue over, seemed arrogant to me. I don't know of any band I wish lasted longer than Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green, but I'm glad he quit as I wouldn't wish him any more pain for all the songs in the world.
  • Echooes from Atlanta, GaInteresting to know that it was originally by the Fleetwood Mac...up until now I've always thought it by Santana!
    I still prefer Santana's 70s/80s stuff way more than the "Maria Maria" shiet ... A few weeks ago one of my co-worker told me that she had heard some girl saying "there is a new band called Santana and the track Maria Maris sounds very cool". Hahaha...
  • Stratis from Brighton, EnglandTo my knowledge the song was written by Peter Green for a black BMW that caught his eyes. Known for his strong feelings against a materialistic world this desire might have been a problem for Green.
  • Ralph from Phoenix, AzCarlos Santana heard Peter Green perform "Black Magic Woman" at The Alembic Auditorium in San Francisco, in 1969. I was there. The band was billed as "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac."

    It's unfortunate that Peter seldom gets credit for writing "such a ledgendary song." I hope he gets the royalties, at least.

    When Fleetwood Mac returned in 1970, Peter had gone and Christine Perfect had joined the band. Didn't see Peter again until Christine's (2nd) wedding in the late '70s.
  • Pat from Albuquerque, NmI've seen Fleetwood Mac perform Black Magic Woman live, back duing the Rumours tour. It's indeed a lot like Santana's version, but with Lindsey Buckingham playing lead of course. Great performance; hope the Mac still play it in concert.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaAwesome thing about Fleetwood Mac, Jim. And K-Earth 101 doesn't play both!!! Stupid K-earth. Since you live kinda near me you might pick it up sometime. i wish people were more like you and submitted songs.
  • Jim from Oxnard, CaGregg Rolie played keyboards and sang on Santana's first three albums. After he left, Santana hired Greg Walker to replace him, until Walker left in the late 70s.
  • Richard from Louisville, KyCarlos Santana has used many different vocalist on his albums. I believe Greg Rolie (who later went on to form Journey)is the vocalist and keyboard player on Black Magic Woman but not sure. Does anybody know for sure?
  • Jim from Oxnard, CaIt's surprising, actually. When I first signed on to this site, "Maria Maria" was the only Santana song listed. I submitted the other Santana songs.
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