Sunday, November 23, 2014

Santana, The #47 Artist of the Seventies*

From the moment they played "Soul Sacrifice" at Woodstock in 1969, music fans were captivated.

The group formed in San Francisco, California in 1967, originally as the Carlos Santana Blues Band.  Lead guitarist Carlos Santana, drummer Rod Harper, bassist David Brown, Gregg Rolie on lead vocals and organ, and Marcus Malone playing percussion were the original members.  Today, Latin rhythms are influential in popular music, but Santana was playing Latin music before it was "cool".  In many ways, they helped make it so.

Their story includes an example of why you never want to listen to just one person in pursuing your dreams.  When they first played at the Avalon Ballroom in 1967, promoter Chet Helms told the group they would never make it in San Francisco playing Latin fusion, and suggested that Carlos keep his day job washing dishes.

Well, think how deprived the world would have been if Carlos listened to Chet Helms.  Obviously, Helms knew about as much about music as a two-year old baby.  Two short years later, the world would eat up that music, with its incredible Latin percussion rhythms.  Carlos and the group persevered in pursuit of their dream, and boy did it pay off.

Prior to Woodstock, Santana recorded their debut album, and the release of their self-titled album shortly after Woodstock was perfect timing, taking advantage of the great reception they got there.

With that great foray into the music scene, expectations were high in 1970 for the follow-up, and Santana delivered.  The album Abraxas was a superb release, featuring a cover of the Fleetwood Mac song "Black Magic Woman", done in a way that songwriter Peter Green never could have imagined.  The song went to #4, and even that was highly underrated.  Had Billboard taken into account album sales of the #1 album, something they still don't do, "Black Magic Woman" easily would have been #1. (Please click the "Play" icon in the top left-hand portion of the video.)

Believe it or not, "Black Magic Woman" was the last Top 10 song the group would enjoy until 1999.  But stay with us--as we have said many times before, hits don't tell the whole story, especially concerning Santana.

The follow-up to that great song was "Oye Coma Va", #13 in both the U.S. and Australia.
Abraxas, the great album that it is, has now gone over the five-million mark in sales.  In addition to its hits, Santana became famous for great instrumental album tracks, featuring great jamming among its musicians.  Abraxas included three in particular that we want to feature.  The first is "Jingo".

"Samba Pa Ti" is another fan favorite from the album, and people in the Netherlands had the good taste to take the song to #11 there.

Another great instrumental on Abraxas is this one--"Incident At Neshabur" 

In 1971, Santana released the album Santana III, the last recorded with the Woodstock lineup.  The group was blessed at that time as two of the greatest guitarists in history, Carlos Santana and new member Neal Schon, traded guitar licks throughout the album. 

The single "Everybody's Everything" went to #12.
Santana released the single "No One To Depend On", at #36 one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.
Santana III also went to #1 on the Album chart and sold over two million copies.  The album included another great instrumental--"Toussaint L'Overture" 

As mentioned above, the group underwent several changes prior to recording their fourth album Caravanserai.  Doug Rauch and Tom Rutley came in to replace David Brown on bass.  Armando Peraza was hired to pick up where percussionist Michael Carabello left off.  Schon and Rolie left to form the group Journey, with Tom Coster moving in for Rolie on keyboards.

Caravanserai has also achieved Platinum status, and it did it without the benefit of a hit.  Obviously, the group had attracted a legion of loyal fans by this point.  "Song Of The Wind" is a track that stands out on the album.

Santana released the album Welcome in 1973, which was the first in a period of experimentation by the group.  It eventually went Gold, but had far less sales and album rank (#25) than previous Santana releases.

The Greatest Hits compilation released in 1974 has now sold over seven million copies. 

The album Borboletta the following year, Amigos in 1976, and Festival in 1977 continued that trend; all went Gold but did not contain big worldwide hit songs.  The fact that Santana was without hits didn't mean that there weren't solid tracks on the albums.  We will feature this great song--"Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile)" from Amigos.  It landed at #6 in Switzerland.

Amigos was a solid effort from the band, a Top 10 album in the United States, France, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, and the Netherlands.  Another track worth checking out is "Carnaval" from Festival.

In 1977, the group released Moonflower, their most successful album since the lineup change.  It has now sold over two million copies in the U.S. alone and became the first album since Borboletta to crack the Top 10 in the U.K.  Moonflower contained a great remake of the Zombies' hit "She's Not There".

In 1978, Santana released the album Inner Secrets.  It featured two more solid remakes--"Well All Right"  made it to #16 in the Netherlands, but stopped at #69 in the U.S. 

"Stormy", the group's remake of the great Classics IV song, peaked at #32.

Santana released the album Marathon in 1979, which went Gold despite not containing any big hits.

Santana continued strong into the 80's, then make a monumental comeback with the album Supernatural in 1999.   Santana is still touring, so there's still time to witness first-hand the guitar wizardry that has captivated music fans for over four decades now.

Santana sold over 20 million records in the Seventies.  They had ten hits with one Top 10 song, but a score of great songs.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This Date in Rock Music History: November 23

1899:  The first jukebox was placed in the Palais Royal Hotel in San Francisco, California.
1959:  After taking a week off, "Mack The Knife" returned to inflict more damage on the chart with a seventh week at #1 for Bobby Darin.
1960:  Elvis Presley's first movie since returning from military service, G.I. Blues, was released.
1962:  The Beatles auditioned at St. James' Church Hall in London for the BBC, that was looking for people with the potential to be on television. They failed.  The person responsible for the decision was no doubt fired and made to wear the tattoo "I'm the world's biggest loser" on their forehead for the rest of their life.
1963:  Dale & Grace reached #1 on the Easy Listening chart with "I'm Leaving It Up To You".
1963:  Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs had the top R&B song with "Sugar Shack".

           Lots of standards on this album...

1963:  For the fourth week, Peter, Paul & Mary owned the #1 album with In the Wind.  Barbra Streisand was close behind with The Second Barbra Streisand Album and Elvis' Golden Records, Volume 3 came in third.  The rest of the Top 10:  Trini Lopez at PG's, Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul by Ray Charles, the debut from Peter, Paul and Mary was moving back up to #6 after 83 weeks of release, Surfer Girl, the new album from the Beach Boys, moved to #7, The Singing Nun moved from 54 to 8 with her self-titled debut, a third album from Peter, Paul & Mary--Moving was #9 and Al Martino held on to #10 with Painted, Tainted Rose.

1963:  Dale & Grace stormed up to #1 with "I'm Leaving It Up to You".  The Village Stompers had song #2 with "Washington Square" while Nino Tempo & April Stevens slipped with "Deep Purple".  Former #1 "Sugar Shack" by Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs was #4 with the Impressions remaining at #5 with "It's All Right".  The rest of the Top 10:  "She's A Fool" from Lesley Gore, Tommy Roe's "Everybody", Elvis Presley had #8--"Bossa Nova Baby", the Singing Nun melodically moved from 19 to 9 with "Dominique" and Los Indios Tabajaras finished the group with "Maria Elena".

1964:  The Beatles released the single "I Feel Fine".
1964:  The Rolling Stones were late for the radio shows Top Gear and Saturday Club and were banned by the BBC.
1965:  The Beatles filmed promotional clips for "I Feel Fine", "Ticket to Ride", "Help!", "Day Tripper" and "We Can Work It Out" at Twickenham Studios in London.  Three films were made of both "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper", two for "I Feel Fine", and one each for "Help!" and "Ticket To Ride".  The videos were sold and distributed by NEMS.  The BBC paid paid £1,750 for the broadcast rights, and deals were struck with other broadcasters throughout the world. 
1966:  The Elvis Presley movie Spinout opened in theaters.
1967:  The Who were at the New Barn at the Lions Delaware County Fairgrounds in Muncie, Indiana.
1968:  The Cowsills:  A Family Thing was televised by NBC.

1968:  After Dusty Springfield had recommended Jimmy Page to Ahmet Ertegun, head of Atlantic Records, Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant finalized the deal that gave the group their recording contract.
1968:  Steve Miller debuted on the chart with his first single "Living In The U.S.A.".
1968:  Mary Hopkin celebrated four weeks at #1 on the Adult chart with "Those Were The Days".

1968:  B.J. Thomas moved from 97 to 69 with "Hooked On A Feeling", one of the week's biggest movers.

1968:  The Beatles tied the existing Rock Era record (held by Bobby Darin's "Mack The Knife") with a ninth week at #1 for "Hey Jude".  Diana Ross & the super Supremes were making a bid for another #1 with "Love Child" and, after being unable to overtake the Fab Four, Mary Hopkin slipped to #3 with "Those Were The Days".  Steppenwolf's rocker "Magic Carpet Ride" came in fourth and Dion moved from 9 to 5 with "Abraham, Martin And John".  The rest of the Top 10:  "White Room" from Cream, Johnny Nash slipped slightly with "Hold Me Tight", Johnnie Taylor wondered "Who's Making Love", O.C. Smith with "Little Green Apples" and Glen Campbell shot up from 23 to 10 after just four weeks with "Wichita Lineman".

1970:  George Harrison released his first solo single--"My Sweet Lord" in the U.S.  (Note:  some websites report the date of release as November 27.  This is physically and logistically impossible to release a song on the 27th and then debut on the charts on the following day, November 28.)
1972:  Bob Dylan arrived in Durango, Colorado to begin filming the movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
1974:  Gary Wright left the group Spooky Tooth to begin a solo career.
1974:  Elton John began an 11-week run at #1 on the U.K. Album chart with his Greatest Hits package.

1974:  Billy Swan moved from 6 to 1 with "I Can Help", leaping over "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)" from B.T. Express, "My Melody Of Love" from Bobby Vinton and America's "Tin Man".  Neil Diamond surged to #5 with "Longfellow Serenade".  The rest of the Top 10:  Carl Carlton and "Everlasting Love", Carl Douglas mastered his way from 27 to 7 with "Kung Fu Fighting", the Three Degrees blasted into the Top 10 with their great song "When Will I See You Again", John Denver was "Back Home Again" at #9 and Harry Chapin pulled of a 22 to 10 move for one of The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era*--"Cat's In The Cradle".
1975:  David Bowie was a guest on Cher's television show on CBS.  The two sang a medley of ""Young Americans," "Song Sung Blue," "One," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Wedding Bell Blues," "Maybe," "Day Tripper," "Ain't No Sunshine," and "Youngblood."   (Note:  several websites report the date of broadcast as either November 8 or 9.  However, '" and several other sites report that the date was November 23.  Our best research indicates the broadcast was this latter date. )
1975:  "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen landed at #1 on the U.K. chart; it would not relinquish the position for nine weeks.
1976:  The Scorpions were in concert at Accrington Town Hall in England.
1976:  Police arrested Jerry Lee Lewis as he showed up at the gates of Graceland in Tennessee for the second time, waving a pistol, shouting and demanding to see Elvis Presley.
1979:  Marianne Faithfull was arrested for possession of marijuana at Oslo Airport in Norway.
1976:  Wings kicked off a 19-date tour of the U.K. at the Royal Court in Liverpool, England.
1979:  The Rod Stewart Special was televised on NBC.
1983:  Tom Evans, bass guitarist for Badfinger, committed suicide after the band decided to call it quits.

       Newcomers Tears for Fears...

1985:  The Soundtrack to "Miami Vice" was #1 on the Album chart for the fourth week but John Cougar's great album Scarecrow was second and Dire Straits were up to #3 with Brothers in Arms.  Heart's self-titled release was fourth followed by In Square Circle from Stevie Wonder.  The rest of the Top 10:  Whitney Houston and her debut, Tears for Fears remained at 7 with Songs from the Big Chair, Sting's solo album The Dream of the Blue Turtles was #8, Bruce Springsteen remained at #9 after 75 weeks of release with Born in the U.S.A. and ZZ Top sped in from 32 to 10 with Afterburner.
1989:  Paul McCartney kicked off the North American leg of his first major tour in ten years when he played the first of five nights at the Los Angeles Forum.
1991:  Genesis owned the top album in the U.K. with We Can't Dance.
1991:  Michael Jackson was on top of the U.K. singles chart with "Black Or White".

          The completely awesome Paula Abdul...

1991:  Michael Bolton repeated the feat of the original "When A Man Loves A Woman" by Percy Sledge by hitting #1.  "Cream" from Prince dripped down while PM Dawn had song #3--"Set Adrift On Memory Bliss".  Boyz II Men held steady with "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" and Bryan Adams dropped after peaking at #2 with "Can't Stop This Thing We Started".  The rest of an excellent Top 10:  Roberta Flack & Maxi Priest with "Set The Night To Music", Amy Grant was up with "That's What Love Is For", Paula Abdul moved from 13 to 8 with her great song "Blowing Kisses In The Wind", Boise, Idaho's Curtis Stigers moved into the Top 10 with "I Wonder Why" and Guns N' Roses remained in the 10th position with "Don't Cry".
1991:  The Adult Contemporary chart was already way ahead of the so-called popular chart as Michael Bolton spent a fourth week at #1 with "When A Man Loves A Woman".

1991:  Garth Brooks had a monster album as Ropin' the Wind held down #1 for the sixth week.

1992:  Boyz II Men released their version of the great Five Satins song "In The Still Of The Nite ("I'll Remember").
1993:  Metallica released the album Garage Inc.
1993:  Metallica also released their first live album, the boxed set Binge & Purge(Note:  some websites report the date of release as November 29--according to the band's official website, the correct date is November 23.)
1993:  Emerson, Lake & Palmer received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1994:  Michael Jackson was cleared in a paternity suit in California by DNA testing.
1994:  Tommy Boyce, who wrote "Last Train To Clarksville" and "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" for the Monkees with songwriting partner Bobby Hart and had a hit with Hart ("I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight") committed suicide after a long battle with depression.
Junior Walker
1995:  Junior Walker, soul artist and elite saxophonist ("How Sweet It Is" from 1966 and "What Does It Take To Win Your Love" from 1969), who played the famous solo on "Urgent" by Foreigner, died of cancer in Battle Creek, Michigan at the age of 64.  (Note:  one website incorrectly reports that Walker died at age 53--he was born June 14, 1931, and thus was 64, as confirmed in the book 'The Tombstone Tourist:  Musicans' by Scott Stanton.)

                        Toni Braxton had a winner...

1996:  "No Diggity" by Blackstreet with Dr. Dre was #1 for a third week, holding off Celine Dion again with her song "It's All Coming Back To Me Now".  Toni Braxton wasn't going away with "Un-Break My Heart" and now Merril Bainbridge challenged with "Mouth".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Nobody" from Keith Sweat with Athena Cage, Ginuwine's "Pony", Donna Lewis slipped to 7 with her smash "I Love You Always Forever", No Mercy edged up with "Where Do You Go", Los Del Rio was still in the Top 10 after 49 weeks of release with "Macarena" and Babyface held on to #10 with "This Is For The Lover In You".

2001:  O.C. Smith ("Little Green Apples" from 1968), who later became the founder and pastor of The City of Angels Church in Los Angeles, died of a heart attack at the age of 65 at his home in Ladera Heights, California.
2003:  Westlife scored their 12th #1 song in the U.K. with their remake of the Barry Manilow song "Mandy".
2003:  Michael Jackson's compilation Number Ones rose to #1 on the Album chart in the U.K.
2005:  Madonna had the top album with Confessions on a Dance Floor.

Born This Day:

1939:  Betty Everett ("The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" was born in Greenwood, Mississippi; died of a heaert attack on August 19, 2001 in Beloit, Wisconsin.  (Note:  some websites show that Everett died in South Beloit, Illinois, but according to 'The Chicago Tribune', she died in Beloit, Wisconsin.)
1940:  Freddie Marsden, drummer of Gerry and the Pacemakers, was born in Liverpool, England; died in Southport, Lancashire, England on December 9, 2006.
1949:  Sandra Stevens of the Brotherhood of Man ("Save All Your Kisses for Me" from 1976) was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

1954:  Bruce Hornsby, elite keyboard player and leader of Bruce Hornsby & the Range, was born in Williamsburg, Virginia.  (Note:  some websites show that Bruce was born in Richmond.  He went to school at the University of Richmond, but he was born in Williamsburg, according to the books 'The Great Rock Discography' by Martin Charles Strong and 'Williamsburg and Virginia's Historic Triangle' by Mary Alice Blackwell, Anne Patterson Causey, and Joetta Sack.   
1962:  Chris Bostock, bassist of the Jo Boxers and Style Council, was born in Bristol, England.
1984:  Lucas Stephen Grabeel, part of the cast of High School Musical, was born in Springfield, Missouri.
1992:  Miley Cyrus was born in Nashville, Tennessee.
1996:  Ken Block, songwriter, guitarist and lead singer of Sister Hazel ("All For You"), was born in Gainesville, Florida.

July 1-November 30--Inside The Rock Era Now The Most Accurate Log of Rock Era Events in the World

We are well into our extensive research on every news item and information pertaining to musicians and artists in the Rock Era.  We are confident in the work done from July through November that this website is now the most accurate Calendar* or music timeline you can find.

You will note that in our daily entries, we point out when there is a discrepancy as to facts contained in the Calendar*, and point out the corroborating confirmations from respected sources.  When we complete this overhaul, Inside The Rock Era will be without question the most reliable source for DJ's who need such information as well as music fans around the world who want to learn more about the Rock Era.  We have looked into reported information from thousands of websites, and when we finish the remaining two/thirds of our work, this website will be more accurate in the items it reports than even Billboard, MTV, and Rolling Stone.  We can say this because we have found numerous mistakes relating to music news on all three of these established leaders in the music business.

We look forward to completing our research, and hope you'll be patient while we correct the errors found on the Internet.