Saturday, November 7, 1970

Santana “Black Magic Woman” charted

Black Magic Woman

Fleetwood Mac

Writer(s): Peter Green (see lyrics here)

Released: March 29, 1968

First Charted: April 10, 1968

Peak: 10 CL, 37 UK, 6 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, -- video, -- streaming

Black Magic Woman


First Charted: September 7, 1970

Peak: 4 US, 4 CB, 3 HR, 29 AC, 1 CL, 4 CN, 16 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 83.7 video, 135.99 streaming

Awards (Fleetwood Mac):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Santana):

About the Song:

Fleetwood Mac arguably became the biggest band in the world with 1977’s Rumours, but they were a very different band than the one that formed a decade earlier. Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, the only consistent members throughout all the band’s incarnations, originally formed a British blues group in 1967 that included guitarists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. Their first charting single was “Black Magic Woman” in 1968, reaching #37 in the UK. They had four top-ten hits in the UK before experiencing a chart drought in 1971 that lasted until the famous 1975 lineup.

During that time, “Black Magic Woman” became an even bigger hit for Santana. That group formed in San Francisco in 1966. Over the years, they went through even more lineup changes than Fleetwood Mac with guitarist Carlos Santana being the one constant. The group released its self-titled debut in 1969, followed by Abraxas in 1970. The latter was a #1 album in the United States, fueled by the success of the group’s cover of “Black Magic Woman.”

Peter Green, who wrote the song, sang lead on the Fleetwood Mac original. He was inspired by Sanra Elsdon, his former girlfriend. WK Bob Dylan described the black magic woman as “a creature with dark powers” BD who “summons demons, holds seances, levitates, is skilled in the art of necromancy, conducts rituatlistic orgies with the dead.” BD He also explains that “she’s your tower of strength and you can’t let her go.” BD

Musically, it was influenced by the Otis Rush song “All Your Love,” which he had recorded while as a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Green said that Mayall said, “if you really like something, you should take the first lines and make up another song from them. So that’s what I did with ‘Black Magic Woman.’” WK

The version by Santana featured Gregg Rolie, who would go on to form Journey in 1973 with fellow Santana member Neal Schon. The song was “a curious blend of blues, rock, jazz…afro-Cuban…and Latin polyrhythms.” WK The song is actually a medley, including an adaptation of “Gypsy Queen,” a 1966 instrumental by Hungarian guitarist Gábor Szabó called “Gypsy Queen.” WK


  • BD Bob Dylan (2022). The Philosophy of Modern Song. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Pages 269-72.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

Related Links:

First posted 11/2/2022.

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