Abraxas (album)

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Album cover from a painting by Mati Klarwein
Studio album by Santana
Released September 1970 (1970-09)
Recorded April 17–May 2, 1970
Studio Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco, California
Genre Latin rock, Chicano rock, jazz-rock, psychedelic rock, blues rock, hard rock
Length 37:10
Label CBS
Producer Fred Catero, Carlos Santana
Santana chronology
Santana III
(1971)Santana III1971
Singles from Abraxas
  1. "Black Magic Woman"
    Released: 1970
  2. "Oye Como Va"
    Released: 1971
  3. "Hope You're Feeling Better"
    Released: 1971

Abraxas is the second studio album by Latin rock band Santana. Building upon the interest generated by their first album released in August 1969 entitled Santana and their highly acclaimed live performance at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969, the band released Abraxas in September 1970. The album's mix of rock, blues, jazz, salsa, and other influences was very well received, showing a musical maturation from their first album and refining the band's early sound.

In 2016, the album was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its "cultural, historic, or artistic significance."[1]


The title of the album, which features Mati Klarwein's 1961 painting, Annunciation, on the cover,[2] comes from a line in Hermann Hesse's book, Demian, quoted on the album's back cover: "We stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. We questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas...." The word "Abraxas" has use within Gnostic cosmology.[3]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[4]
Christgau's Record Guide C+[5]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[7]


Abraxas features a mixture of Latin influences with familiar rock themes such as showcased electric guitar, organ, and heavy drums. The album also demonstrates Santana's stylistic versatility, including tracks such as "Samba Pa Ti" (a classic slow-burning piece)[8] and "Incident at Neshabur", both being instrumentals, the latter has several rhythm and time signature changes consistent with its jazz feel. Latin percussion — congas, bongos and timbales, as well as a conventional rock drum setup, expanded Santana's foray into Latin rhythm, the piece 'Samba Pa Ti' was originally recorded in the key of G, and is in fact two separate unfinished pieces which were combined to a single piece comprising a slow emotive first part followed by an extended play out in a faster tempo; This piece along with "Black Magic Woman," written by Peter Green, helped underpin the truly unique blend of Latin American / Blues / Rock style created by the artist.


In 2003 the album was ranked number 207 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[9] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[10]

The instrumental, "Samba Pa Ti" ("Samba for You"), was covered by José Feliciano, who added lyrics, and also by Angélique Kidjo, who put lyrics in Yoruba on her album Oyo. It is also one of the tracks featured in Nick Hornby's book, 31 Songs, it was used in the UK as the background music for TV ads for Marks & Spencer food in 2006. It also was featured as the ending song in the Cold Case episode, "Dead Heat", which aired November 8, 2009.

Abraxas was deemed "culturally, historically, or artistically significant" by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in their National Recording Registry in 2016.

Santana's Abraxas is featured in the 2009 Coen Brothers film A Serious Man as a point of contention regarding the Columbia House Record Club.

Track listing[edit]

LP side 1
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts" (Instrumental) Mike Carabello 4:51
2. "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" Peter Green/Gábor Szabó 5:24
3. "Oye Como Va" Tito Puente 4:17
4. "Incident at Neshabur" (Instrumental) Alberto Gianquinto, Carlos Santana 4:58
LP side 2
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Se a Cabo" José Areas 2:50
2. "Mother's Daughter" Gregg Rolie 4:25
3. "Samba Pa Ti" (Instrumental) Santana 4:45
4. "Hope You're Feeling Better" Rolie 4:10
5. "El Nicoya" Areas 1:30

Later re-issues[edit]

1998 remastered edition
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts" (Instrumental) Carabello 4:51
2. "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" Green/Szabó 5:22
3. "Oye Como Va" Puente 4:16
4. "Incident at Neshabur" (Instrumental) Gianquinto, Santana 4:57
5. "Se a Cabo" Areas 2:50
6. "Mother's Daughter" Rolie 4:25
7. "Samba Pa Ti" (Instrumental) Santana 4:45
8. "Hope You're Feeling Better" Rolie 4:11
9. "El Nicoya" Areas 1:30
10. "Se a Cabo" (Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London, England, April 14, 1970)[11] (1998 edition)   3:47
11. "Toussaint L'Overture" (Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London, England, April 14, 1970) (1998 edition)   4:52
12. "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" (Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London, England, April 14, 1970) (1998 edition)   4:57


  • While the original track listing lists track 5 as "Se a Cabo", the correct Spanish spelling for the phrase is "se acabó", meaning "it's over".



Additional personnel[edit]

Release history[edit]

  • In 1990, CBS/Sony published a remastered edition on Audio CD (Universal Product Code: 7464301302 ).
  • In 1991, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab released a remastered version on their Ultradisc (24K) Gold CD (UDCD 552).
  • In 1997, ARS (Audiophile record service Joerg Kessler) of Germany, released a 180 gram 100% virgin vinyl pressing mastered from the original analog tape. It is (Pallas) Germany pressed. Catalog # Ars 32032.
  • In 1998, Sony published a remastered version, which included three previously unreleased live tracks: "Se A Cabo", "Toussaint L'Overture" and "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen," recorded at the Royal Albert Hall on April 18, 1970.
  • In 1998, SME records in Japan, part of Sony Music, also released the remastered version as an SACD. This disc is stereo only, and furthermore, it is a single layer SACD, which means that ordinary CD players will not play it, this disc contains the same bonus tracks as the ordinary 1998 remastered CD.
  • In 2008, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab released a remastered version on their Ultradisc II (24K) Gold CD (UDCD 775) & GAIN 2™ Ultra Analog LP 180g Series (MFSL305).
  • In 2016 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab released a new, limited edition, 45 rpm 2 lp box set of Abraxas called the 1 step (UD1S). The set was limited to 2500 copies worldwide and involved a process where several of the traditional steps in making a vinyl record were bypassed in order to get a more original sound, it is mastered from the original analog tape.


Weekly charts[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
1970 1 1 2 7 7 3 7
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.


Year Title Peak chart positions
1970 "Black Magic Woman" 4 15 4 14
1971 "Oye Como Va" 13 13 5 16 29
"Hope You're Feeling Better"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[12] 3× Platinum 300,000^
France (SNEP)[13] Platinum 300,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[14] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[15] 5× Platinum 5,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ https://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2016/16-056.html
  2. ^ Young, Rob, "lush life. mati klarwein" John Hassel atmospherics, www.jonhassell.com/mati. Accessed 2013 July 18.
  3. ^ Cf. Hippolytus, Refutatio, vii. 14; Irenaeus, Adversus hæreses, I. xxiv. 7
  4. ^ Henderson, Alex. Abraxas at AllMusic. Retrieved 2005-09-15.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Santana: Abraxas > Consumer Guide Album". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2006-03-09. 
  6. ^ Nash, Jim (December 24, 1970). "Santana Abraxas > Album Review". Rolling Stone (73). Archived from the original on 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). "Santana". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 717–718. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.  Portions posted at "Santana > Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  8. ^ 31 Songs by Nick Hornby
  9. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "205 | Abraxas - Santana". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Archived from the original on 2007-11-06. Retrieved 9 March 2006. 
  10. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5. 
  11. ^ Discogs - Abraxas 1998 reMastered CD, Columbia / Legacy (CK 65490) US
  12. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Santana – Abraxas". Music Canada. 
  13. ^ "French album certifications – Santana – Abraxas" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  14. ^ "British album certifications – Santana – Abraxas". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Abraxas in the search field and then press Enter.
  15. ^ "American album certifications – Santana – Abraxas". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Billboard 200 number-one album
October 24–30, 1970
November 28, 1970 – January 1, 1971
Succeeded by
Led Zeppelin III by Led Zeppelin
All Things Must Pass by George Harrison
Preceded by
Led Zeppelin III by Led Zeppelin
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
February 22–28, 1971
Succeeded by
Pendulum by Creedence Clearwater Revival