Santeria

Album: Sublime (1996)
Charted: 43
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a guy contemplating the use of black magic, voodoo, or "santeria" - anything he can to get back his girl. The lyric was written by Sublime lead singer Brad Nowell, who died two months before the album was released. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Drew - Sydney, Australia
  • Santeria means "Way of The Saints" in Spanish, and is a religion where the focus is on worship of saints. It is practiced in Cuba, Brazil, Panama, and a few other countries. There are some followers of Santeria in California, where the band is from.
  • An early version of this song appears as an instrumental called "Lincoln Highway Dub" on Sublime's second album, Robbin' The Hood, released in 1994.

    "I wrote the music," Sublime bass player Eric Wilson said in his Songfacts interview. "It was the music from a four-track, I wrote it in my head, and we re-tracked it and put those lyrics on it."
  • The music video was made about a month after Brad Nowell died. The video contains ghostly images of Brad playing his guitar along with the band, which was created by using old concert footage of him.

    The clip was directed by McG, who later became a big time movie-maker (Charlie's Angels, Terminator Salvation), and stars Tom Lister, Jr., who wrestled under the name Zeus and appeared in a number of movies and TV shows as a big, scary man.

    Nowell's Dalmation, Lou Dog, has a starring role in the video, but in most of the scenes a trained lookalike dog was used, since Lou didn't take direction well and at one point bit Lister.
  • Sublime formed in 1988 and released two albums on their own label before getting deal with MCA, which issued their self-titled album in 1996 two months after lead singer Brad Nowell died of a heroin overdose at age 28. The band was little known at the time outside of their home base of Long Beach, California, and Nowell's death got little national coverage.

    His bandmates later re-formed as the Long Beach Dub Allstars, but there was no Sublime to promote the album. When MCA sent promotional copies of "What I Got" to US radio stations, it got some heat and suddenly the defunct band was on the air and in demand. "Santeria" was the next single pushed to radio, and it was well-received, garnering most of its airplay in early 1997, almost a year after the album was released. "Wrong Way" was then sent to stations, followed by "Doin' Time," keeping Sublime on the airwaves well into 1998.

    None of these songs were made available for sale as singles in America, which ramped up album sales. Sublime ended up selling over 5 million copies despite the death of their frontman.
  • In a 2021 interview with Rolling Stone, producer Paul Leary reported hearing rumors that "Santeria" was getting heavy radio play for so long that executives had to call the radio stations and ask them to stop playing it so they could break the Sublime album's third single, "Wrong Way."

    The Rolling Stone story also explains that Sublime's label tried to keep them on a regular recording schedule, but in reality they worked to the ebb and flow of Nowell's inspiration. Nowell would retreat into a back area of the studio to work on lyrics alone. When he was done he would emerge, ready to play, and that would often initiate the recording. This is how "Santeria" came about.

Comments: 52

  • Lynz from Antioch California"My Ruca" is a sarcastic rude song about how his "Ruca" rude-unliked-c--t-asshole is just a song in short about his f--k buddy that went bad on him and ran through guys quickly thus led up to having to sell oranges down by the highway. This is not a love song!! Just meerly a song that notes the meeting of this chick named 'Ramona' which to me sounds like one of those went to college almost types that's artistic and very educated, speaks out too much and kinda a hippie style. She maybe was good pu$$y but not the type you want to hang out with. She doesn't have any friends bc she is kinda a bitch. So the song isn't a dedication to Ramona but is a memory that's it that's all she will ever be to him and even if they did have something at one point he will never think fondly of her ever again... I wish people would quit referring this as a love song!!
  • Torrey from Vista CaI love this song. People may think because I am not a later generation or whatever it is ( i was born in 2010 ) that I may not know or like this music. But all throughout 2021 I had this amazing and beautiful song stuck in my head. The only way to get out or stuck in my head further was to listen to it and look at the lyrics and sing it. I really wish Bradly Nowwel was still alvie to play more beautiful and amazing music for us.
  • Aña Garcia97 from Corpus Christi, TxLove this song! Thanks to my parents i grew up listening to it!!
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkJust gotta say that I still love "Santeria" and Sublime here in 2013. I first heard Sublime when in college in the later Nineties & by that time Brad Nowell had been deceased a few years, but their songs were still getting airplay on the college radio stations then. Thanks for that!! Now, there's a solid big fan-base out there. I still hear Sublime songs on radio's various formats out there & it brings back good memories and wild wild times! "Santeria" is such a catchy song you can't get it outa yer mind. Go with that....
  • Randy from Ashland, Ohwow! Sublime is one of the best bands ever! I just love them!,..except for the gun part...but they're just humans right..
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlThis song is awesome!! My Uncle Josh plays this on guitar and sings this and it's crazy!
  • Infinity from Los Angeles, CaThis is a song about a girl who left him for another man, he's expressing how horrible he feels and wondering why it happened, even says he "came divine". Sancho is a name used for a man who takes another man's girlfriend or wife, often slang used in jail. While he's heartbroken and wants to act on his anger, questioning why it happened, he knows the only thing he can do is move on.

    Santeria is a religion, while some claim there's curses this song is in the form of predicting the future. He explains that he doesn't practice Santeria or have a crystal ball saying he doesn't know what will happen now that his girl is gone, unlike the money he had. He says "if" he finds them he'll get revenge.
  • Jo from Katoomba, AustraliaI always thought it was about his daughter whose boyfriend had cheated on heer...he says "daddy's got a new .45" he wants to hurt the guy that hurt his daughter.
  • Dan from Nas Whidbey Island, WaNotorious5253 said it too...
  • Dan from Nas Whidbey Island, Wa"Sancho" in Mex. Spanish is a guy, either real or fictitious, that is sleeping with one's girl behind their back. People give each other a hard time by saying, "That sucks you gotta work tomorrow because that will give Sancho more time to make your wife forget you are even gone." "Maybe your girl ain't hanging out with you tonight because she's got a date with Sancho." etc. Bradley Nowell was using this expression to play up why he felt he was getting punked and wanted to slap her and kill him... get it? Basically, song is awesome on many levels.
  • Gman911 from Mount Airy, NcWho is the woman in the video that tries to break up the fight?
  • Gregg from Ogden, UtGreat song, great artist. Still a classic, even with the younger generations, and I hope it'll continue to be so for a long, long time.
    The Meaning of it always is and probably always will be up for debate, but hey, when we get too heated arguin' over it, we can just sit back and listen to it again, and it'll be allll-riiiight. =)
  • Notorius253 from Tacoma, WaYea Brad Usually Uses alot of Spanish lingo in his songs heina is a Fine Girl and Sancho is a word used to describe THAT OTHER MAN
    THE MILKMAN
    The guy whom that gurl cheats on you
    All hes sayin is
    Lemme see that sancho im a whup his ass
    I gotta find another girl because i still feel tha Break
  • D from Waterloo, Iagreat song, one of my all time favs. very catchy
  • Oreip from Guayaquil, Ecuadorbest song ever....... i think chica me tipo is the second
  • Tara from Hamilton, Ohthe song is about kicking his addiction to heroin for his son. sancho is the addiction and he wanted to quit for him. he did the heroin to write better songs like kurt kobain. in the song he says "baby" and "daddy's" got a new 45. he also quote's "i'll make it" i just wish he would have. sublime is my all time fav band. it's timeless and i will always love it rest in peace brad nowell
  • Kane from Wytheville, Vai hope he kicked sancho ass!!!
  • Joshua from Brighton, United KingdomWhatever the meaning this is a powerful song been into sublime for years they need the recogintion they deserve R.I.P Bradley
  • Kurly from Los Angeles, Casee i believe that this song has many different meanings. but this is my favorite. i Think that this song is actually for his son. "hyna" is the music he use to make. "sanchito" is the heroin and "baby" is his son. see he wanted to get off of herion but he couldnt because he felt that he needed it to right music. he was telling "sanchito" (herion) that he was done"Tell sanchito that if he knows what is good for him he best go run and hide". he tells his son that he's done with herion in the lines and that he's going to be okay in the lines "Daddy's got a new .45." and "ohhh What I really wanna say,
    my baby,
    What I really wanna say is I've got mine.
    and I'll make it, "

    let me know what you think
  • Jessica from San Diego , Ca*listen to Caress Me Down*
    En el otro lado es donde vivi,
    (on the other side is where I lived (in the u.s.))
    Con mi hijita, que se llama mixie,
    (with my little daughter, whos name is mixie)
    Y su hermana, si me quiere,
    (and her sister, she really likes me)
    Y ya horita, tenemos un bebe,
    (and in a moment, well have a baby)

    Sus padres sus tios me trataron matar
    (your parents, your uncles tried to kill me)
    But they did not get too far
    Un poco despues tuve que regresar
    (a little while later I had to come back)
    Con un chingo de dinero
    (with a load of money)
    Cause you know Im a star
  • Jessica from San Diego , CaOne of their best!
    If you've ever been to long beach or socal, you might know what heina & sancho means...yes it's pretty mexican lol just listen to 'Waiting for my Ruca.' Part of the reason why i love sublime is because they were completely open and inclusive of people and music!
  • Dick from San Francisco, Caits about being pissed and planning to shoot the guy sleeping with his girlfriend
  • Ava from Bellingham, MaOne of the best versions I've heard of this song is on YouTube by jbabs86! Fantastic!
  • Alexandra from Houston, TxSanteria is derived from the African religion Yoruba. When the slaves were brought to the America's they were forced by the plantation owners to concert to Christianity. Santeria is a combination of Yoruba and Christianity.
  • Connor from Woodstock, GaIn the music video there is a dalmation with them,it is the lead singers dog and he can be seen in many other music videos too.
  • Kenny from Chimbote, PeruIn the "And I won't think twice to stick that barrel straight down sancho's throat" line (Verse 3) sounds like And I won't think twice to stick 'Papas Fritas' sancho's throat... It's a kinda fool this, but I like the way it sounds....
  • Kenny from Chimbote, PeruThis songs has so many arranges for guitar (blues) I love it!!!
  • Brian from Vancouver, CanadaThis song is special to me. I once knew a girl who loved this song but I never saw her again. Years and years later Ive become the biggest sublime fan ever. kinda weird.
  • Fernando from Lakewood, CoSancho definately isn't some mexican guy. A heina is a spanish endearment for woman and sancho is used in spanish inmate slang for the guy your girlfriend is sleeping with, by calling him 'sanchito' sublime are calling him a boy.

    way to stereotype it, ass.
  • Tom from Chicago, Iltoo bad bradley passed...these guys coulda been great..
  • J from Jackson, GaIt needs to be said, greatest song ever.
  • Brincher from Florianopolis, Sc, BrazilA little hint: there's no religion called Santeria in Brazil. We have the candomblé and its variations. Of course, there's some similarities between both religions, but they are, in the roots, very different.
    Cheers.
  • Jayme from Waipio, Hii love the song, the video is way awesome and this shows how good sublime is. its like there most famous song!
  • Sheena from Norwich, EnglandAce song. A heina is a spanish endearment for woman and sancho is used in spanis inmate slang for the guy your girlfriend is sleeping with, by calling him 'sanchito' sublime are calling him a boy. Its a very agressive song but I love it! x
  • Shelly from Nmb, Sclove this song, just works.love sublime!rip bradley...
  • Ben from Cincinnati, Ohone of my favorite sublime songs
  • Josh from New York, Nyvideo is awesome.
  • Ernesto from Tucson, AzIn the song, "haina" means "girl". It's an East L.A. thing. Like in Cypress Hill's "latin Lingo" "firme haina" means a hot (tight)looking girl.
  • Jared from Westmont, Njgreat song...even the titling is clever. I haven't been listening to Sublime to long but what I hear is awesome...great song
  • La Boricua from Camino Nuevo, United StatesWhat does -Heina- mean in the song "Santeria" by Sublime?
  • Kim from Stuart, FlThere are little pockets of Santeria wherever there are ethnic areas. I remember a few years ago, some people down in Boca Raton, FL got in trouble for not disposing of their sacrificial goat head properly. According to the newspaper, there are special exceptions to the animal cruelty laws for religions that practice animal sacrifice.
  • Danielle from West Chester, OhIt is about losing the woman he loves, but the whole idea is that he has no way to win her back, no magic, no money for persuaion, so he has the whole " if i cant have her no one can" attitude.
  • Alexander from Panama, OtherWell, just a hint , In panama the santeria as a religion is not a common practice.
    Anyways this song is about a girl that left him for another guy , probably a mexican (Sancho).
    Daddy got a new 45 , that part of the song means that if he finally faces sancho , he is going to blow his head with a .45 Hahaha.
    Good Song , Everytime I listen to that song , I got a strong desire to smoke weed jejeje.
    SUBLIME ROCKS...
  • Adam from Olney, Ilpersonally i love sublime ...platonically
  • Diego from Panama, OtherSanteria does not mean "Way of The Saints" in Spanish. it's the name of a religion (or cult?) popular in the carribean which consists of a combination of catholicism with voodoo and other african practices.
  • Andrew from Kokomo, MiThis song is one of my favorite to solo to. The chord changes just fit a major solo so well.
  • Izzie from Lala, Hii dont really understand this song but i love it. its so fun to listen to! sublime is one of my fave bands.... they're great. "what i got" is my 2nd fave song (after crash into me by dave matthews band.) this song is one of my favorites by them!
  • Melissa from Baltimore, Mithis is a great song to sing into your friends microphone when your blasted, because you always sound fantastic...I think...maybe you just think you do.....???----Baltimore, MD
  • Justin from Columbus, MsI love chillin to this song. It is a very good song. And, YES, Sublime is one of the BEST bands out there.
  • Johnny from Roseville, CaI thought the meaning was some guy messing with some guy's girl and having him kick his ass....oh well
  • Sara from Jonesboro, ArGreat Song!! I love the beginning guitar!!
  • Michelle from Pueblo, CoI love this song. Sublime is one of the best bands
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