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Santana - Splendiferous Santana (RSD 22)

Santana Vinyl Records

Arriving at the twilight of the 1960s, Santana were psychedelic pioneers who ushered Latin rock into the mainstream with their first three albums: Santana, Abraxas, and Santana III. Thanks to their appearance at Woodstock, their eponymous album was a smash hit right out of the gate, with its single "Evil Ways" making it into the Billboard Top Ten in 1969. They remained at the top of the charts until 1973, when leader and namesake guitarist Carlos Santana began exploring esoteric, spiritual jazz fusion on his own. Carlos may have wandered away from the band who shared his name, but he always returned to the group, sustaining them through years both productive and fallow. Through it all, Santana maintained a loyal classic rock following, but their popularity exploded in 1999 thanks to Supernatural, a splashy comeback masterminded by Clive Davis and featuring the Rob Thomas duet "Smooth." Like "Black Magic Woman," "Evil Ways," and "Oye Como Va" before it, "Smooth" became a pop hit -- it reached number one, their first ever -- and became an enduring classic, allowing Santana to flourish into the 21st century, as he moved between reuniting the Santana III band for 2014's Santana IV, collaborating with the Isley Brothers for 2018's Power of Peace, recording Africa Speaks with Spanish vocalist Concha Buika in 2019, and delivering Blessings and Miracles, a star-studded record in the vein of Supernatural, in 2021.

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