Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Santana

Jingo

Written and first recorded (as “Jin-Go-Lo-Ba”) by Babatunde Olatunji (1968).
Hit album version by Santana (1969).

From the wiki: “‘Jin-Go-Lo-Ba’ was the most popular song on the Drums of Passion album released in 1960 by Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji, unquestionably the first recording to popularize African music in the West. The simple exchange between the mother drum (iya ilu) and the baby drum (omele) became Babatunde’s signature song. When Santana later covered the song, in 1969, and used it as the B-side to ‘Evil Ways‘, the writing credit was mangled. Initial pressings of the Santana album and the 45 erroneously listed Aaron Copland as the ‘Jingo’ composer! It turns out Copland did compose a song titled ‘Jingo’ – just not this one.”

Gypsy Woman

First recorded by The Impressions (US #20/R&B #1 1961).
Other hit versions by Brian Hyland (US #3/UK #42 1970), Santana (US #31 1990).

From the wiki: “‘Gypsy Woman’ was written by Curtis Mayfield and recorded by his group The Impressions, the group’s first single following the departure of lead singer Jerry Butler. The recording reached #2 on the R&B chart and #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. In 1970, Brian Hyland recorded a successful Del Shannon-produced cover version which charted at No. 3 on the Hot 100.”

Evil Ways

First recorded by Willie Bobo (1968).
Also recorded by The Village Callers (1968).
Hit version by Santana (US #9 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Evil Ways’ was made famous by Santana from their 1969 album, Santana. It was written by Clarence ‘Sonny’ Henry and originally recorded by Jazz percussionist Willie Bobo on his 1967 album, Bobo Motion. A year before Santana’s 1969 recording, ‘Evil Ways’ was also recorded by the band The Village Callers – considered to be one of the best bands in East Los Angeles and among the first bands with Latin percussion roots in the ‘Eastside Sound’ of the early to mid-60s – for the album The Village Callers Live, recorded May 5, 1968 at the Plush Bunny nightclub in Pico Rivera, CA. So, it could be argued that the Callers’ recording – which received heavy radio airplay in the Bay Area – was what inspired Santana to record their arrangement of the song. Released as a single in December 1969, ‘Evil Ways’ would quickly become Santana’s first Top 40 and Top 10 hit in the U.S. ”

Gypsy Queen

Written and first recorded by Gabor Szabo (1966).
Hit album version by Santana (1970).

From the wiki: “Hungarian jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo (‘Breezin’‘)wrote and recorded ‘Gypsy Queen’ for his 1966 album Spellbinder. Szabo had escaped Communist Hungary in 1956 for the US, where he entered the Berklee School of Music, Boston. By 1958, Szabo had been invited to perform at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival. Szabo incorporated elements of Folk music from his native Hungary, from Gypsy and Roma influences, into his guitar playing, and his guitar style would strongly influence Carlos Santana’s work. (Santana’s 2012 instrumental album Shape Shifter includes a song titled “Mr. Szabo”, played in tribute in the style of Szabo).

Winning

Written and first recorded by Russ Ballard (1976).
Also recorded by Nona Hendryx (1977).
Hit version by Santana (US #17 1981).

Oye Como Va

Written and first recorded by Tito Puente & His Orchestra (1963).
Inspired by “Chanchullo” by Israel “Cachao” Lopez (1937).
Hit version by Santana (US #13/R&B #32 1970).

From the wiki: “‘Oye Como Va’ is a song written by Latin Jazz and Mambo musician Tito Puente in 1963. The fact that the phrase ‘Oye como va’ is the title of the song and is sung somewhat separately from the phrase ‘mi ritmo’ makes for its interpretation as ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ However, the first sentence is actually ‘Oye como va mi ritmo,’ meaning ‘Listen to how my rhythm goes.’ Israel ‘Cachao’ López’s 1937, ‘Rareza de Melitón’ (later changed to ‘Chanchullo’), inspired Tito Puente’s signature tune.

Hold On

Written and first recorded by Ian Thomas (1981).
Hit version by Santana (US #15 1982).

From the wiki: “‘Hold On’ is a song written and first recorded by the Canadian singer and songwriter Ian Thomas, on his 1981 album The Runner. In 1982 the Latin rock band Santana, featuring lead vocalist Alex Ligertwood, covered the song for their album Shango.

“Thomas is a successful Rock ‘n roll musician in Canada, at the height of his solo career during the 1970s, with his most memorable hit being 1973’s ‘Painted Ladies’. Thomas has also done musical composition for about a dozen films and television shows. Before breaking through with ‘Painted Ladies’, he was a producer at the CBC. Before that, he was part of the Folk music group Tranquility Base.

No One to Depend On

Co-written and first recorded (as “Spanish Grease”) by Willie Bobo (1965).
Hit version by Santana (US #36 1971).

From the wiki: “The main melody of ‘No One to Depend One’ is taken from Willie Bobo’s 1965 recording ‘Spanish Grease’.

Game of Love

Originally recorded by Santana featuring Tina Turner (2002) but unreleased until 2007.
Hit version by Santana featuring Michelle Branch (US #5/UK #16/CAN #4 2002).

From the wiki: “Tina Turner originally recorded ‘Game of Love’ for Santana. However, this version remained unreleased until 2007 when it was featured on the album Ultimate Santana. The Michelle Branch recording was released as single in 2002, It won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals’, as well as peaking at #5 in on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.”

Black Magic Woman

First recorded by Fleetwood Mac (UK #37 1968).
Hit version by Santana (US #4/CAN #4/AUS #15/GER #14 1969).

From the wiki: “‘Black Magic Woman’ was written by Peter Green of Fleetwod Mac and appeared as a Fleetwood Mac single in various countries in 1968, subsequently appearing on the 1969 Fleetwood Mac compilation albums English Rose (US) and The Pious Bird of Good Omen (UK).

“The song became a fairly popular blues-rock hit for Fleetwood Mac in 1968, peaking at #37 on the UK Singles Chart. It was featured in Fleetwood Mac live set-lists even after Green had left the band, when it was often sung by Danny Kirwan. And, during concerts in the early 1970s ‘Black Magic Woman’ would form the basis for long mid-concert jams. The song would often be preceded by a band member reminding the audience that it was a Fleetwood Mac song before it became such a big hit for Santana.”

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