After two weeks of voting, and some hard fought battles, the winner of the AccuRadio Music Madness Tournament of Covers has been chosen. Starting with a field of 64, we matched up cover songs to face off against each other tournament-style. Our winner, Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” came as a surprise, even to our staff. Was Santana YOUR choice to take it all the way?
First released as a Fleetwood Mac single in 1968, “Black Magic Woman” truly became a hit with Santana’s 1970 cover, which reached No. 4 both the U.S. and Canadian charts. The cover remains one of Santana’s most successful songs ever.
The original “Black Magic Woman” by Fleetwood Mac made it into the top 40 in the UK singles chart. Written by founding band member Peter Green, the song was heavily influenced by blues-rock. It was released after the band’s first album, and is representative of early Fleetwood Mac, a band that drastically changed with later line-ups. Despite the success of the band’s first album in UK charts, Fleetwood Mac’s “Black Magic Woman” was eventually overshadowed by Santana’s cover.
Santana’s 1970 cover wasn’t completely straight-ahead though. For the intro, Santana adapted Gábor Szabó’s 1966 Hungarian folk instrumental “Gypsy Queen” before barreling into his iconic solo. While the song retains the same lyrics and largely the same overall sound as the original, the band’s subtle flourishes of Jazz, Latin rhythm, and Hungarian folk took it to another level and set it apart from the original. It was released on Santana’s second album, Abraxas, and was largely responsible for driving it to quadruple platinum status.
Santana – like Fleetwood Mac – was formed in 1967. The American Latin rock band first garnered national attention at Woodstock in 1969 as their signature sound was quite different from many of the other acts. While band members have come and gone over the years, legendary guitarist Carlos Santana has remained the constant and the center of the band, as well as it’s namesake. The band has won 8 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Grammy Awards, and they are poised to release their twenty-third album, Santana IV, in a few weeks.