|Single by Santana|
|from the album Santana|
|Released||December 30, 1969|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|Genre||Jazz fusion, Latin rock|
|Length||3:54 (album version)
3:01 (single version)
|Writer(s)||Clarence "Sonny" Henry|
|Producer(s)||Brent Dangerfield, Santana|
|Santana singles chronology|
"Evil Ways" is a song made famous by the band Santana from their 1969 album, "Santana." It was written by Clarence "Sonny" Henry and originally recorded by jazz percussionist Willie Bobo on his 1967 album, Bobo Motion. Alongside Santana's release in 1969, "Evil Ways" was also recorded by the band The Village Callers. The lyrics of the song are written in simple verse form.
Released as a single in late 1969, it became Santana's first top 40 and top 10 hit in the U.S., peaking at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Gregg Rolie performs the lead vocals and plays a Hammond organ solo in the middle section. The double-time coda includes a guitar solo performed by Carlos Santana.
"Evil Ways" is about a girl who is spiteful: "You've got to change your evil ways, baby/Before I stop lovin' you." She neglects her boyfriend by spending time with her friends instead of him. "You hang around, baby/with Jean and Joan and-a who-knows-who."
Some radio stations play edited versions of the song, cutting portions of the introduction, the organ instrumental in the middle, and the guitar improvisation in the coda.
Notable covers and samples
Jackie Mittoo made a reggae version called "Totally Together" on his LP "Now" of 1970.
Johnny Mathis released the song as a single in 1970. It made the Cash Box survey at #118, and also appeared on MOR music surveys in Billboard and Record World.
Alex Gimeno samples the riff from Evil Ways in his track "Funky Bikini" (1999) from his musical project titled Ursula 1000.
Smooth jazz group Fattburger covered "Evil Ways" for their 2001 album "T. G. I. F.attburger"
Los Lonely Boys perform this song on their 2009 tribute EP entitled "1969."
On first pressings of both Santana's debut album and the single release, the songwriting credit was originally given to Jimmie Zack. Zack was a minor rockabilly artist out of the Midwest who recorded a song with the same title (as "Jimmie Zack and The Blues Rockers") for a small regional label in 1960 (); however, it was not the same song as recorded by Santana.
In popular culture
The music was used in 2014 in a commercial for PODS.
- Covach, John. "Form in Rock Music: A Primer," p.71-72, in Stein, Deborah (2005). "Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis." New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517010-5.