Santeria (song)

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Single by Sublime
from the album Sublime
Released January 7, 1997
Recorded 1996
Length 3:03
Label MCA
Writer(s) Bradley Nowell, Bud Gaugh, Eric Wilson[1]
Producer(s) Paul Leary & David Kahne
Sublime singles chronology
"What I Got"
"Wrong Way"

"Santeria" is a song by Sublime on the 1996 album Sublime. The song was released as a single on January 7, 1997. This is Sublime's most popular song to date despite charting lower than "What I Got" and it is considered[according to whom?] their signature song.[citation needed]

Composition and context[edit]

The song includes the bassline and guitar riff from Sublime's earlier song "Lincoln Highway Dub" off the 1994 album Robbin' the Hood.[2] Santería refers to the religion practiced in the Caribbean in which Yorùbá orishas are syncretized with Roman Catholic saints.

The song tells the story of a jealous ex-boyfriend who is planning to take revenge on the man who stole his girlfriend. The man mentions using violent force as he speaks of "popping a cap in Sancho" and "putting that barrel straight down Sancho's throat". The lead singer of Sublime, Bradley Nowell, refers to the man as "sancho" and his ex-girlfriend as "heina."[3] In Mexico, a man who steals another man's girlfriend is often referred to as "sancho"[4] and a man's woman or girlfriend is referred to as "heina," which is adapted from the Spanish word "reina," meaning queen in English.[5]

Nowell died shortly after the release of this song from what would be classified as a heroin overdose.[6]


A music video was filmed in 1997 after the death of lead singer Bradley Nowell, who makes a cameo via stock footage. During the video, his beloved Lou Dog is seen along with the other members of Sublime remembering him. The video was a visualization of the story told in the song in the form of a Western, and featured Tom Lister, Jr. as Sancho. "Santeria" was a moderate U.S. crossover hit in the spring of 1997, cracking the Top 5 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart as well as reaching #43 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart. It is also a playable track on the 2008 video game Guitar Hero World Tour, and was released as a downloadable song for Rock Band 3 in 2012. The song was featured in the movie This is 40.


Santeria has been covered by:

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Canadian Singles Chart 90
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 43
U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks 3
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks 38


External links[edit]