Evil Ways

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"Evil Ways"
Single by Santana
from the album Santana
B-side "Waiting"
Released December 30, 1969
Format 7" 45 RPM
Genre Jazz fusion, latin rock
Length 3:54 (album version)
3:01 (single version)
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Clarence "Sonny" Henry
Producer(s) Brent Dangerfield, Santana
Santana singles chronology
"Evil Ways"
"Black Magic Woman"
"Evil Ways"
"Black Magic Woman"

"Evil Ways" is a song made famous by Mexican-American rock band Santana from their 1969 debut 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.[1] The lyrics of the song are written in simple verse form.[2]

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, who also does the backing vocals.

Some radio stations play edited versions of the song, cutting portions of the introduction, organ instrumental in the middle, and guitar improvisation in the coda.

Notable covers and samples[edit]

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 (#30)[3] and Record World.

The song was also covered by Cal Tjader (Willie Bobo was a former member of Tjader's band) with vocals by Carmen McRae on his 1982 album Heat Wave.

Latin rapper Mellow Man Ace sampled this track and used it as the main melody for his single "Mentirosa" (1989).

Alternative rock jam band, Rusted Root performs "Evil Ways" on the soundtrack of the 1995 film Home for the Holidays.

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

The song was used in the 2001 film 'The Fast & The Furious' in one scene, and named in the credits.

In 2002, alternative metal band Nonpoint covered "Evil Ways" and put it as bonus track on the special edition of their release Development.

Los Lonely Boys perform this song on their 2009 tribute EP entitled 1969.

Type O Negative featured Evil Ways, Oye Como Va, and Black Magic Woman on the CD Version of their 2006 DVD Symphony for the Devil in a melody entitled Santana Medley

Erroneous credit[edit]

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 ([1]); however, it was not the same song as recorded by Santana.

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ "The Village Callers - Evil Ways / When You're Gone". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-1993. Record Research. p. 155. 

External links[edit]