Singled Out Classics: Black Magic Woman
(antiMusic) We have a very special edition of Singled Out for you today! Legendary rocker Gregg Rolie (founding member, lead singer and keyboards for Santana and Journey) checks in with the inside story of one of Santana’s biggest hits “Black Magic Woman” which Gregg sang lead vocals on. You can hear and see him sing the classic tune on his forthcoming live DVD- more on that later, but right now here is Gregg with the story behind “Black Magic Woman”:
Black Magic Woman is still one my favorite songs to sing and perform even after almost 40 years. It took me about a year to convince the band that we should do this song. It was one I had a passion for and I knew I could sing it. Some songs are made for you and other songs you just sing. This one was made for me. A little known fact is that Mike Shrieve (drummer for Santana) turned me on to Black Magic Woman. He knew I was a big Peter Green fan from his involvement with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers where Peter took Eric Clapton’s place as the lead guitarist and played on the album “Hard Road”. Mike gave me the Fleetwood Mac album with lead guitarist Peter Green and I found Black Magic Woman penned by Peter. It became a #4 Hit for Santana and one of the most recognizable Santana songs for decades to follow. I’m sure glad Mike gave it to me.
Now about that DVD. Here is the official announcement: You’ve heard his voice and keyboards on such classic Santana hits as “Black Magic Woman”, “Evil Ways”, “No One To Depend On”, “Everybody’s Everything” and “Oye Como Va”, now legendary Santana / Journey founding member, and Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Gregg Rolie is preparing to release a DVD of his band in concert at the Sturgis Motorcycle Ralley in 2007. Shot with 17 cameras, the Gregg Rolie Band whip up an exciting memorable performance featuring all the beloved Santana hits, as well as tracks from his 2001 critically acclaimed solo CD ‘Roots’.
Along with preparations for the new DVD release, Gregg Rolie will be featured on the PBS special Trini Lopez Presents The Legends of Latin Music. Filmed at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles last October, the program will be aired in March 2009.
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, this year Warner Home Video’s will be releasing a Blu-ray and DVD Ultimate Collector’s Edition with high definition picture and sound of ‘Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music’, which will also feature two hours of bonus material, some of it newly-discovered. Much to th e elation of fans worldwide, extra footage of Santana’s historic Woodstock performance will be included. Held at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas on Saturday March 23, along with Santana alumni Michael Shrieve, Gregg will reside on a discussion panel of performers, filmakers and key technicians who helped create the timeless music classic and Oscar winning ‘Best Documentary’ Woodstock.
“The first time I played with Gregg everything just clicked. In a humble way, it was very much like McCartney and Lennon. You know when there’s chemistry there. Drummers came and went; congeros came and went, but his feeling and my feeling…sometimes it was hard to tell who was the needle and who was the thread.” Carlos Santana
Gregg Rolie is responsible for co-founding two phenomenally popular, multi-platinum super groups – Santana and Journey. In 1998, the world class keyboardist/vocalist/producer was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame as part of the original Santana band. Formed in San Francisco in 1969, the multi-cultural ensemble produced three groundbreaking hit albums which yeilded several FM staples. “There’s one unique ability of the band,” Gregg told music critic Ben Fong-Torres, “and that was that it created music that there is no name for… Santana’s music is such a jell of different material that there just is no name for it, and there’s no one that plays it like Santana does.” Departing after the pioneering jazz fusion offering ‘Caravansarai’ in 1972, both band members Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon went on to form quintessential 1980s hit-makers Journey. After co-writing and producing the band’s first 7 albums, along with constant touring, Gregg decided to leave Journey once the hugely successful 1981 live double LP ‘Captured’ was issued. During the ’80s Rolie wrote, produced and played on the Santana albums ‘Shango’ and ‘Freedom’, and released his debut, self-titled 1985 solo album and its 1987 follow-up ‘Gringo’, before co-founding the all-new Journey-esque rock group The Storm at the tail end of the decade. The Storm released two albums: ’92′s eponymous disc that yielded the #13 Billboard Hot 100 hit “I’ve Got A Lot To Learn About Love” and ’96′s ‘Eye Of the Storm’. That same year, Rolie, along with five other original Santana members, formed Abraxas Pool, a spirited collaboration that resulted in the 1997 critically acclaimed album of the same name.
Thirty-five years after Gregg and Carlos met in San Francisco, 2001 marked the release of Rolie’s third solo album ‘Roots’. The first-ever release on Bay-Area based Tower Records’ new proprietary label 33rd Street, ‘Roots’ finds Gregg revisiting the incredible brew of sounds he helped conjure up in the late 60′s. Rolie calls Roots’ twelve original selections “Latin rock plus”; the instrumentation is Latin percussion, with organ, guitar, horns, and lots of great solo work and songwriting”, adding that “I really wanted to go all the way back to my Santana roots”.
The Gregg Rolie Band consists of founding Santana member Michael Carabello on Congas, Adrian Areas (son of original Santana percussionist Jose Chepi to Areas) on Timbales, drummer Ron Wikso (who was also in The Storm), Kurt Griffey on guitars, internationally acclaimed bassist, Chapman Stick artist and Santana alumni Alphonso Johnson and former Jean Luc Ponty keyboardist Wally Minko. “If you are having a good time at anything you do, you are going to do a good job at what you do,” Gregg recently told music critic Jim Harrington. “That’s really where the key to this band is. We really just enjoy each other a tremendous amount and have a lot of fun with this. We will get up to playing about 50 dates a year, and really that’s about all I want to do.” The Gregg Rolie Band will be performing throughout 2009 with tour dates listed on his official website.
For more information: www.GreggRolie.com
Tags: Black Magic Woman, Carlos Santana, Gregg Rolie, Mike Shrieve, Woodstock