Soul Sacrifice

Songfacts®:

  • This instrumental piece is the closing track on Santana's debut album. It's powered by the two-conga attack of Michael Carabello and Jose Areas, with Carlos Santana cutting in at various intervals with blistering guitar licks. This African-Latin-rock hybrid was new and different and exciting, and it became a signature sound for the group. "Soul Sacrifice" wasn't hit material (instrumental tracks running 6:37 rarely are), but it quickly became a fan favorite and endured as a staple of their live shows.
  • The first place most listeners heard this was at Woodstock, where it was one of the more memorable performances of the iconic festival. Santana was a popular live draw in the San Francisco area, but they had yet to release their first album; they got an invite to Woodstock only at the behest of their manager, a heavy hitter named Bill Graham.

    The band took the stage as the third act on Day 2, going on around 2 p.m. Carlos Santana thought they were going on much later, so he took some mescaline supplied by his friend Jerry Garcia, and was peaking when the performance started. The entire band seemed to be on another level of musical consciousness through the set; by the time they played "Soul Sacrifice" (their seventh number), they were locked in with each other and with the crowd. It captured the spirit of the festival, with everyone sharing a positive energy and putting any differences aside.

    Santana's self-titled debut album was released two weeks later in the halo of their Woodstock performance. It sold 2 million copies in America and put the band on a path to stardom.
  • The 8-minute Woodstock performance was included on the official soundtrack from the festival. Leading into the track was the "no rain" chant from the crowd, which actually took place the next day after Joe Cocker's set, but segued nicely into the opening groove of "Soul Sacrifice."
  • The writer's credits on this song go to the four guys who crafted it during jam sessions in San Francisco: Carlos Santana, bass player David Brown, keyboard man Gregg Rolie and percussionist Marcus Malone.

    Malone was an original member of the band but missed out on the glory when he was sent to jail for manslaughter before Woodstock and before Santana's first album was released. He got out in 1973 and ended up homeless. In 2013, a TV news crew reunited him with Carlos.
  • The Woodstock version of this song is included in the 30th anniversary re-release of Santana's debut album as a bonus track along with live versions of "Savor" and a previously unreleased jam "Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jim - Oxnard, CA

Comments: 10

  • Lou From New London from ConnecticutA Little Bit of Misinformation About Woodstock and Santana. The Band Was the FIRST Act at 11:30 on Saturday Morning. I Attended Woodstock and To This Day Feel That Santana Was the BEST Group At the Festival. Their Drummer Mike Shrieve Being Only 15 Years Old Was Playing Many Years Ahead of His Age. Carlos {very religious} Santana Had An Incredible Peaceful Vibe That Set the Tone {in my opinion} For the Rest Of the Festival. Sorry To Hear Of His Brothers Passing. 5/15/2020. R.I.P.
  • Susan from Cleveland, OhioNow THAT is what you call a Musically gifted Jam beyond all Jams to be able to pull that off during an untimely acid trip.
  • Larry from Los Angeles, CaEven though he was high on SOMETHING, Carlos Santana definitely pulled it off on this version of Soul Sacrifice! Nice melodic soloing, with his classic fractious timing.
  • Nandha from Jamshedpur, Indiamy granma was a indian classical musician...she stood to watch this on the video with rapt attn
  • Ant from Manchester, United KingdomThis song appears in the film 'Zodiac' as incidental background music
  • Marijuana from Really South, Neutral Zonein the video it looks like mikael got acid in his eye but he rocks anyway long live santana
  • Bob from San Jose, CaCarlos (in an interview on The King Biscuit Flour Hour)said that he didn't remember if it was Acid or Mescaline that he had dropped. They were scheduled to go on later in the evening so taking it was ok. Thing was though, that they changed the time on him and it was "go on now or forget it". So they went on, all "peaking" and everthing.
    Oh! and about that "jam session" I watched them at Aquatic Park in S.F. jam on weekends, he had his brother Jorge (from Malo) jamming with them.
  • Geoff from Adelaide, AustraliaI'm agreeing with Barry that the c"no rain" chant took place at a different time to the start of this song. In the Woodstock Movie, it is fine, and someone announces "We've got one more tune for you" or something like that. In any case, it is an awesome drum solo, and an awesome song.
  • Barry from New York, NcActually the rain chants and the "no rain" took place on Sunday August 17, 1969 when the big rainstorm hit following Joe Cocker's set and prior to Country Joe & The Fish. Santanta's set took place Saturday afternoon when there was no rain at all. Without any rain, there's almost no chance that the crowd would be chanting "no rain." What you hear on the Woodstock soundtrack is just some nice editing.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesSome people believe Santana made this up on the spot as a jam off of the "no rain" chant at Woodstock. Carlos Santana later said he was on acid during his Woodstock performance, and the reason he looks a little harrassed is that his guitar kept turning into a snake, and he would have to change it back so he could go on playing.
    It's not certain whether he took the brown acid (which was initially given out free to musicians at the show) but perhaps this is one of the experiences that led announcers to warn people that the brown acid wasn't too good.
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