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Rock Hall Anniversary: Santana’s Debut Album

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Carlos Santana performs during Univision Radio's Uforia Concert at Webster Hall on May 13, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images

In a period where the charts were still ruled by psychedelic rock, it gets a taste of Latin rhythms by year’s end.

In August 1969, Santana released their self-titled debut album. This was the album before the band used their famous emblem, and has the picture of a roaring lion, which took from a Fillmore poster designed by graphic artist Lee Conklin, announcing one of Santana’s shows at the Fillmore West. In addition to Latin rhythms, the album also featured a mix of jazz, blues and fusion into their rock sound, as well as a mixture of pop-ready tracks and instrumental jams.

Santana came out around the same month as the Woodstock Festival. As their performance was well-received by the huge audience (as witnessed in the 1970 film of the music festival, especially with the powerful performance of the track “Soul Sacrifice”), the band’s debut album immediately caught fire. It went on to peak at number four on the Billboard 200 album charts, and went on to sell over two million copies. The first single “Jingo” was a minor hit, but the next one “Evil Ways” was the band’s first top forty single, cracking the top ten at number nine.

Santana’s self-titled debut is truly regarded as one of the band’s best works, as being one of the albums credited with help championing the jazz and fusion rock, that would grow in popularity during the 1970s. It also ranked as one of the top 150 albums on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time. The album was reissued twice, especially in 2004 for a legacy edition, where there were features of Santana’s Woodstock performance, and studio sessions of tracks including “Soul Sacrifice” and “Jingo”.

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