“Evil Ways” wasn’t the first single release for Santana off their debut album. It was, however, their first top ten hit peaking at number nine. This rhythmic song remains a main staple on oldies and classic rock radio stations. Here’s the first in a series of behind the songs of Santana. Get to know more about their hits and other releases throughout Santana’s long career.
Released in 1969 this was not long after the band’s stellar performance at Woodstock that same year. Much like Santana’s other iconic hits it’s a cover version from the 1965 recording by Willie Bobo. During the late 1970s Santana would have Bobo play on some of his tracks.
Shortly after the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, a music video showed up on YouTube of Santana performing “Evil Ways.” It did not make the final cut of the Oscar-winning documentary. This is one of the rare recordings where Carlos Santana’s solo vocals can be heard for about 90-seconds. Keyboardist Gregg Rolie is the lead vocalist on the track. Incidentally there's a Santana tribute band who call themselves “Evil Ways.”