Caravanserai (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 11, 1972
RecordedFebruary 21–May 5, 1972
StudioColumbia Studios, San Francisco, California
GenreJazz fusion, Latin rock
ProducerCarlos Santana, Michael Shrieve
Santana chronology
Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live!
Love Devotion Surrender

Caravanserai is the fourth studio album by Santana, released on October 11, 1972.


Caravanserai marked a major turning point in Carlos Santana's career as it was a departure from his critically acclaimed first three albums. In contrast with the earlier trademark sound fusion of salsa, rock, and jazz, the album concentrated mostly on jazz-like instrumental passages. All but three tracks were instrumentals. The album is the first in a series of Santana albums that were known for their increasing musical complexity, marking a move away from the popular rock format of the early Santana albums toward a more contemplative and experimental jazz sound.

There was much change in personnel in the group. Original bass guitarist David Brown had left the group in 1971 and was replaced by Doug Rauch. In addition Tom Rutley played acoustic bass on some tracks, in some cases in tandem with electric bass.[1] Similarly although José "Chepito" Areas continued on percussion, original percussionist Michael Carabello had departed, and Armando Peraza and James Mingo Lewis played on the album. Several other musicians made contributions. While Santana himself and most of the other musicians were in their early 20s, some were older; for instance Lewis was 32, Hadley Caliman 40, and Peraza 47.

During this period, Santana's relationship with longtime keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Rolie rapidly deteriorated (keyboardist Tom Coster performed on one song before replacing Rolie shortly after the album's release). It was also the last Santana album to feature guitarist Neal Schon, who went on to co-found Journey the following year.

Release and promotion[edit]

The album was mixed and released in both stereo and quadraphonic. It was released on October 11, 1972. The album was supported with a tour, which spanned the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania and lasted from September 1972 to December 1973. The shows on July 3 and 4, 1973 at the Osaka Kōsei Nenkin Kaikan in Osaka, Japan, were released as the triple vinyl LP Lotus.

The inner cover carried a quote by Paramahansa Yogananda:

The body melts into the universe.
The universe melts into the soundless voice.
The sound melts into the all-shining light.
And the light enters the bosom of infinite joy.

— Paramahansa Yogananda, Metaphysical Meditations, [2][3]

In 2000 SME records in Japan, part of Sony Music, also released the remastered version as an SACD.[4] This disc is stereo only, and furthermore, it is a single layer SACD, which means that ordinary CD players will not play it.

The album was remastered in 2003 for re-release on Legacy/Columbia/SME.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[5]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[6]
Rolling Stone(not rated)[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[9]

Columbia Records President Clive Davis, upon first hearing the finished album, told Carlos he was committing "career suicide".[10]

The album reached number eight in the Billboard 200 chart and number six in the R&B Albums chart in 1972.[11]

Caravanserai was voted number 609 in the third edition of Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums (2000).[12]

It is regarded as an artistic success, but the musical changes that began on its release in 1972 marked the start of a fall in Santana's commercial popularity.

A 1976 review[13] in Rolling Stone said the album affirmed and "speaks directly to the universality of man, both in the sound of the music and in the vocals."[14]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation" (instrumental)Tom Rutley, Neal Schon, Michael Shrieve4:28
2."Waves Within" (instrumental)Doug Rauch, Gregg Rolie, Carlos Santana3:54
3."Look Up (To See What's Coming Down)" (instrumental)Rauch, Rolie, Santana3:00
4."Just in Time to See the Sun"Rolie, Santana, Shrieve2:18
5."Song of the Wind" (instrumental)Rolie, Santana, Schon6:04
6."All the Love of the Universe"Santana, Schon7:40
Side two
7."Future Primitive" (instrumental)José Areas, Mingo Lewis4:12
8."Stone Flower"Antônio Carlos Jobim (music)
Santana, Shrieve (lyrics)
9."La Fuente del Ritmo" (instrumental)Lewis4:34
10."Every Step of the Way" (instrumental)Shrieve9:05
Total length:51:21

On the Q8 quad version,[15] "Song of the Wind" and "La Fuente del Ritmo"—the next to last tracks on each side of the LP—were traded to even the timing for the tape.


  • Carlos Santana – lead guitar (2-4, 8, 9), guitar (5, 6, 10), vocals (4, 6, 8), percussion (1, 8),
  • Neal Schon – guitar (1,3-6,8-10)
  • Gregg Rolie – organ (2-6,8,10), electric piano (6), vocals (4), piano
  • Douglas Rauch – bass (2-6), guitar (2-3)
  • Douglas Rodrigues – guitar (2)
  • Wendy Haas – piano (1,8)
  • Tom Rutley – acoustic bass (1,6,8-10)
  • Michael Shrieve – drums (1-6,8-10), percussion, vocals (8)
  • José "Chepito" Areas – percussion, congas (7), timbales (2-4,6-7,9-10), bongos (8)
  • James Mingo Lewis – percussion (1,8-9), congas (2-10), bongos (7), vocals (6), acoustic piano (9)
  • Armando Peraza – percussion (8), bongos (9)
  • Hadley Caliman – saxophone intro (1), flute (10)
  • Rico Reyes – vocals (6)
  • Lenny White – castanets (6)
  • Tom Coster – electric piano (9)
  • Tom Harrell – orchestra arrangement (10)


  • Produced by Carlos Santana & Mike Shrieve
  • Recorded & engineered by Glen Kolotkin & Mike Larner
  • Recorded at Columbia Studios, San Francisco, California March, April, & May 1972
April 6, recorded All the Love of the Universe


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[16] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[17] Gold 100,000*
United States (RIAA)[18] Platinum 1,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ p48, Carlos Santana: A Biography, By Norman Weinstein
  2. ^
  3. ^ p36, Metaphysical Meditations, Paramahansa Yogananda
  4. ^ "Santana - Caravanserai".
  5. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Caravanserai". Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via
  7. ^ Gleason, Ralph J. (8 December 1976). "Santana: Caravanserai : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Santana: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  10. ^ recalled in a 2013 interview by drummer and album co-producer Michael Shrieve
  11. ^ "Caravanserai - Santana | Awards | AllMusic". Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  12. ^ Colin Larkin (2006). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 203. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  13. ^ by well-regarded rock critic Ralph Gleason
  14. ^ Gleason, Ralph J. (8 December 1976). "Santana: Caravanserai : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Santana: Caravanserai [SQ/Q8]". Archived from the original on 2016-11-27. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  16. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Santana – Caravanserai". Music Canada.
  17. ^ "French album certifications – Santana – Caravanserai" (in French). InfoDisc. Select SANTANA and click OK. 
  18. ^ "American album certifications – Santana – Caravanserai". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.