Abraxas (album)

Abraxas (album)

Album cover from a painting by Mati Klarwein
Studio album by Santana
Released September 1970 (1970-09)
Recorded April 17–May 2, 1970 at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco, California
Genre Latin rock, chicano rock, jazz-rock, psychedelic rock
Length 37:32
Label CBS
Producer Fred Catero, Carlos Santana
Santana chronology
Santana III
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. Consolidating the interest generated by their first album, Santana (recorded in May 1969), and their highly acclaimed live performance at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969, the band followed-up with 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.


  • Name 1
  • Music 2
  • Legacy 3
  • Track listing 4
    • Later re-issues 4.1
  • Versions 5
  • Personnel 6
    • Additional personnel 6.1
  • Chart tables 7
    • Album 7.1
    • Singles 7.2
  • Certifications 8
  • In popular culture 9
  • References 10


The title of the album, which features Mati Klarwein's 1961 painting, Annunciation, on the cover,[1] 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.[2]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [3]
Robert Christgau C+[4]
Rolling Stone favorable[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [6]


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)[7] 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' attributed originally to 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.[8]

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.

Track listing

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

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)[9] (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".


  • 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 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).


Additional personnel

Chart tables


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 Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[10] 3× Platinum 300,000^
France (SNEP)[11] Platinum 300,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[12] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[13] 5× Platinum 5,000,000^

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

In popular culture

The album is a recurring plot point in the 2009 Coen Brothers movie A Serious Man.


  1. ^ Young, Rob, "lush life. mati klarwein" John Hassel atmospherics, www.jonhassell.com/mati. Accessed 2013 July 18.
  2. ^ Cf. Hippolytus, Refutatio, vii. 14; Irenaeus, Adversus hæreses, I. xxiv. 7
  3. ^ Henderson, Alex. Abraxas (album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 2005-09-15.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. > Consumer Guide Album"Abraxas"Santana: .  
  5. ^ Nash, Jim (December 24, 1970). > Album Review"Abraxas"Santana .  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ 31 Songs by Nick Hornby
  8. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "205 | Abraxas - Santana". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround.  
  9. ^ 1998 reMastered CD, Columbia / Legacy (CK 65490) USAbraxasDiscogs -
  10. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Santana – Abraxas".  
  11. ^ "French album certifications – Santana – Abraxas" (in French).  
  12. ^ "British album certifications – Santana – Abraxas".   Enter Abraxas in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  13. ^ "American album certifications – Santana – Abraxas".   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
George Harrison
Preceded by
Led Zeppelin III by Led Zeppelin
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
February 22–28, 1971
Succeeded by
by Creedence Clearwater Revival