Santana: “Oye Como Va” (1971)

Santana turns Tito Puente’s cha-cha into an international hit by re-arranging it for a rock band.

Kronomyth 2.2: Cha-cha-ching.

Santana’s slow, sultry version version of Tito Puente’s Oye Como Va replaced the original flute and horns with electric guitar and organ, and in the process created one of the earliest and purest examples of Latin rock. The album version features solos from Carlos Santana and Gregg Rolie, but the single version edits out Rolie’s solo to bring the song just under three minutes. The song not only brought added fame to Santana but also renewed interest in its original author, Tito Puente, for which the mamba king has remained ever-grateful.

The B side is a Carol Santana original, Samba Pa Ti, which is more or less a guitar solo with a shuffling arrangement behind it. Identical to the elpee version, it highlights Santana’s expressive style in a very approachable way, at least until the magic fingers take over in the second half and you get a schooling in the electric guitar. “Samba Pa Ti” is one of the few times where Santana reminds me of Jimi Hendrix, who passed away when Abraxas was released, and in some ways could be heard as a mantle passing, if you were inclined to such idle ideations.

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Original 7-inch single version

A1. Oye Como Va (Tito Puente) (2:59)
B1. Samba Pa Ti (Carlos Santana) (4:46)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single version (US/UK)
A1. Black Magic Woman (Peter Green) (3:16)
B1. Oye Como Va (Tito Puente) (2:59)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single reissue (UK 1973)
A1. Oye Como Va (Tito Puente) (2:59)
B1. Black Magic Woman (Peter Green) (no track time listed)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single version (Japan)
A1. Black Magic Woman (Peter Green) (3:10)
B1. Oye Como Va (Tito Puente) (3:14)

German 7-inch single reissue (1974)
A1. Oye Como Va (Tito Puente) (2:59)
B1. Everything’s Coming Our Way (Carlos Santana) (3:19)

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single version on February 2, 1971 in the US and Canada (Columbia, 4-45330), on March 5, 1971 in the UK (CBS, CBS S 7046), on April 1, 1971 in Japan (CBS, CBSA 82101) and in 1971 in Argentina (CBS, 22325), Australia (CBS, BA-221805), France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain (CBS, CBS 7046), Germany and Norway (CBS, 7046), Greece (CBS, BA 301309), India (CBS, 4-45330) and New Zealand (CBS, BA 461338) with regional picture sleeve; reached #13 on the US charts (charted on February 20, 1971 for 10 weeks). Also released as promotional 7-inch single version in 1971 in the US (Columbia, 4-45330) feat. A stereo and mono versions.

  1. Re-released with “Black Magic Woman” as back-to-back hits 7-inch single in Japan (CBS Sony Gold Disc, SOPB 212) with picture sleeve.
  2. Re-released with “Black Magic Woman” as back-to-back hits 7-inch single in the US (Columbia Collectables, 13-33195), the UK (CBS Hall of Fame, CBS 3950) and Canada (Columbia Hall of Fame, 13-33195).
  3. Re-released with “Black Magic Woman” as back-to-back hits 7-inch single on April 13, 1973 in the UK (CBS Hall of Fame Hits, S CBS 1155) with picture sleeve.
  4. Re-released with “Everything’s Coming Our Way” on 7-inch single in 1974 in Germany (CBS, CBS S 2260) with picture sleeve.

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