Ranking All The Santana Studio Albums


Santana is a rock legend that has been one of the best bands in history. The band features Carlos Santana, an all-time great guitarist and it hails from San Francisco where it was previously referred to as “The City.” The influential group became world famous for their Woodstock performance with Soul Sacrifice off their self-titled debut album entitled “Santana” (1969). Santana has released much glorious music over the years, but if you think their most recent album is anywhere near as good (and it should be), you should know about the rest of their beautiful compilation. Santana’s discography includes everything from Abraxas in 1968 until Blessings and Miracles were released last year. The following are Ranking of All The Santana Studio Albums:

25. Milagro

Milagro is Santana’s only studio album not owned by Sony Music Entertainment.the title, means “miracle” in Spanish, was Santana’s first album on the Polydor label after twenty-two years with Columbia Records. The album peaked at number 102 on the Billboard 200 in 1992 and its safe to say it is not one of Santana’s best albums.

24. Spirits Dancing in the Flesh

Spirits Dancing in the Flesh reached eighty-five on Billboard’s 200th highest charting albums list. The record contains their mix of Reggae, Rock’ n’ Roll, Latin Jazz inspired music with well-known artists like The Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Eric Clapton, to mention a few. Proving that there are no boundaries when you’re dancing spiritually.” The album is a joyous mess of sounds and electric guitars. Listeners often find themselves wrapped up in the catchy melodies, backed by tight rhythms, which create their groove for this seven-track record.

23. Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time

Santana’s twenty-first studio album is a collection of classic rock covers and features guest performances by several popular vocalists. Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics Of All Time, referred to as guitarist Carlos Santana pays homage to well-chosen artists such as India Arie, Joe Cocker, and Scott Stapp, who sings on two songs, including his solo effort Fearless which made it into number one spot for five weeks straight in 1999. The success is unmatched till now. It also includes vocals recorded earlier this year when Chris Cornell was still alive.

22. Beyond Appearances

According to Shangó, the album took seven months to complete and included a significantly different roster than the previous one (released in 1982). The band was still active, except for Alex Ligertwood and percussionists, Armando Peraza, Raul Rekow, and Orestes Vilatô. This is Greg Walker’s first studio excursion to Santana after leaving Inner Secrets, which he rejoined roughly two years later. As you may guess from this alone, there was a lot of enthusiasm around his comeback. He joined the band on vocals, though not only because it would have been too much of a spotlight if someone performed everything flawlessly. It’s also Dav Jones’ second appearance on the show. Musically, it’s firmly rooted in the style of the late 80s, with plenty of synthesizers and drum machines going down smooth as silk. Listening to it today, it does not sound outdated after over two decades since it was released.

21. Shangó

Santana’s new album, Shangó, is a masterpiece. Santana’s roots inspired the Latin-inspired songs on this record in Mexico City and San Francisco. His experiences with traditional music from these areas combined with other influences like Motown soul and funk. The title track “Shango,” which translates into ‘God of Thunder, was co-written by guitarist Marcus Mitty Kingdom who also played for Stevie Wonder back when he first started.

20. Freedom

The band had nine members in this recording and moved away from their more poppy sound on Beyond Appearances with its original back to what made them famous. This was done to revive themselves and make up for lost commercial fortune. They had dwindled into a ninety-five place position for having minor melody over percussion during the songwriting process. This caused some confusion among listeners expecting something different, despite always being known primarily as the guitarist, whose skills shone brighter than anything else about him.

19. Abraxas

The 1970s were a time of musical exploration for many cultures worldwide, and Santana’s Abraxas is an excellent example. The second studio album released by this Latin rock band on September 23 features ten songs. The songs explore various genres like funk or Jazz with heavy metal guitar riffs throughout each track. They maintain their signature sound best characterized as melodic yet powerful Latin rhythms combined seamlessly together to create one cohesive piece.

18. Shape Shifter

Shape Shifter, was met by critics and fans alike as one of Santana’s best efforts in quite some time. However, it features no guests on vocals. This made it an even more personal project because they used to record under Polydor Records before switching over to Star faith records.The song “Mr. Szabo” in the album is a tribute to Gábor Szabó, a Hungarian guitarist who was one of Carlos Santana’s early idols and influences. He derived much musicality from his playing over 40 years ago when they first met on wax together at Impulse Records from 1966 to 1967.

17. Santana

The debut album by Santana was released in 1969. Latin America’s traditional music heavily influenced the band. Their jam sessions developed into something much more than initially with songs that had some form or structure but were still predominantly instrumental. Given the band’s performance at Woodstock earlier that August, the record would be a blockbuster release. The first single, “Jingo,” only had minor success on billboard charts, peaking at #56. Their second single became an international Top 10 hit, spending thirteen weeks in the US top 100. Island Records has published this mix both digitally and physically.

16. Zebop!

Santana’s twelfth studio album is an excellent representation of their diverse musicality. Zebop! Features a wide range of genres from rock ‘n’ roll, soulful ballads, and Latin rhythms, all within four sides of wax that has been mastered at Gann distances. Only the most outstanding engineers could accomplish such mastery. It’s hard to pick just one favorite track off this tremendous sounding release.

15. Shaman

“Shaman is the 19th studio album by Santana released on October 22, 2002, and debuted at #1. Its first-week sales were 298k+ Gold status from RIAA. Santana’s new album is a mix of everything: rock, pop and opera. The first single, “ The Game Of Love”, features Michelle Branch. The second song on the record brings together Nipper Read guitarist Chad Kroeger. He sings about love with an American Idol judge in Alex’s Band from ‘Calling.’ Like Santana’s other albums, it includes Spanish singer Plácido Domingo for one track.

14. All That I Am

Their twenty-first studio LP “All That I Am” was released in 2005 on October 31, following up from 2002’s Shaman, which sold very well considering its predecessor dropped off significantly after peaking at #2 during its initial week of sales. The creative process behind this project began when producer George Milton approached guitarist Carlos Santana about working together and developed an original sound outside traditional blues scales or jazz fusion arrangements. The arose what would later become known as soul, and the output flows nicely.

13. Marathon

The band’s eleventh studio album, Marathon, was the first release of 1986. It marked a commercial slide for Santana despite having top 40 hits “You Know That I Love You,” with Alex Ligertwood joining them on vocals throughout most of the 80s releases. This album has more to do with what came before than anything else, as they were always talented musicians. Still, they began making less attractive records, leaving many fans wanting something different after ten years with no innovation.

12. Moonflower

Santana’s double album, Moonflower, is an eclectic mixture. The CD features both studio and live recordings, which are interspersed throughout. It may be their most popular live release because it includes music from Lotus but does not have a US domestic release until 1991. This makes the collection more sought after than ever before. The mix of Latin rock fusion of the late 60s and early 70s style mixed in more experimental spiritual Jazz will make you want to get up on stage with these guys.

11. Amigos

Santana’s seventh studio album, Amigos, was released in 1976. It produced a minor hit single in the United States with “Let It Shine.” It was their first top 10 certified album since Caravanserai in 1972. Amigos was released as an official single in Europe, becoming one of many successful releases from this beloved band during their tenure together until Greg Walker joined later into production. It’s also worth noting that their last effort featured original bassist David Brown—so sad he had to leave the band before we knew what could’ve been.

10. Festival

Santana’s eighth studio album, Festivál, is an eccentric and politically charged jazz rocker that has been compared to Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. The lyrics explore the drug culture of 1970s San Francisco and other social issues like monogamy in relationships or religious conversion from Catholicism. In 2016, it was ranked number 249 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list ranking “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.”

9. Borboletta

Borboletta combines jazz-funk with Latin rock. It can be seen as their most experimental record to date. Some songs feature lengthy solos from guitarist Carlos Santana himself. The rest involve prominent percussion and keyboards besides saxophone or vocals on top of them. All set against very catchy guitar riffs. One example would be “Promise Of A Fisherman,” which opens up peacefully before giving way for an extended solo section lasting close to 8 minutes. It has no drums apart from those played only during the fade-out. The album Borboletta is a collaboration between Brazilian musicians and sound thinkers. Borboletta translates to butterfly in Portuguese, which has deep cultural significance for this type of music.

8. Caravanserai

Caravanserai, opens with a Latin instrumental titled “Spanish Guitar.” The song sets up an atmosphere for listeners to get lost in Santana’s other catchy tunes like the uptempo burner of this release. On the surface, Caravanserai is a departure from Carlos Santana’s previous work. His methods and style had diverged significantly since albums one through three. This time around, he explored Jazz more than anything else. However, there are some key similarities between it and his previous releases.

7. Inner Secrets

Santana’s 1978 album, Inner Secrets, is seen by many fans and critics alike as one of the most underrated releases in his discography. The tenth studio release was a turning point for Santana. He began moving away from fusion Jazz/Rock towards an Album Oriented Rock direction. This record would mark another era in music history thanks to it being labelled “the best yet” when discussing Stormy Weather earlier on recording sessions around 1976. The third track on Inner Secrets, One Chain (Don’t Make No Prison), has a different version than initially released.

6. Corazón

Lester Mendez produced the album with various collaborations, including Gloria Estefan and Ziggy Marley, among others. “La Flaca” featuring Juanes was the first track to be heard from this long-awaited follow up to 2012’s Supernatural Deluxe Edition. They sold 60 thousand copies within its initial release week at a rate of over 100k per copy, making it platinum almost instantly. Corazon proves even more successful as many fans have been waiting patiently for news about their next project since 2009s excellent Super Natural incorporating Reggaeton, among other styles.

5. Welcome

Welcome continued the jazz-fusion formula established by the last Caravanserai but with a more extensive and more diverse roster this time. After Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon left to set Journey, they were replaced by Tom Coster, Richard Kermode, Leon Thomas, and special guest John McLaughlin. They worked with Carlos Santana on Love Devotion Surrender. Welcome also included Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane’s widow, as a pianist on the album’s opening tune, “Going Home,” and Flora Purim (Airto Moreira’s wife) on vocals. This album was significantly more experimental than the previous four, and Welcome did not yield any hits.

4. Santana III

It has often been referred to as III or Santana III to distinguish its release from 1969’s self-titled debut album. It featured different lineups that made up their latest addition to their catalogue of music releases until they reunited again for a wildly successful tour later that year. Santana’s contribution to rock-and-roll music is undeniable. Santana III was also the last album until Supernatural in 1999, achieving #1 on Billboard 200 charts after its release, with no prior albums having done so before it. Guinness World Records lists this as one of their “Gaps Between Number One Plates” that includes artists such as Paul McCartney. He had a gap of 17 years between studio releases.

3. Africa Speaks

Africa Speaks their first record with Rick Rubin as producer and features 49 songs recorded in 10 days. The production process was led up to an eight-piece band that included Carlos’ wife Cindy Blackman playing the drums during these sessions at Shangri La Studios Malibu, California. They were also captured through 16 channels wired directly into each instrument with no preamps or compressors added later, as many other records do nowadays because it sounds artificial.

2. Blessings and Miracles

Santana and his bandmates recorded “Blessings and Miracles” over two years. They had help from guest musicians, including Chris Stapleton, Ally Brooke and Corey Glover Kirk Hammett. There’s also an appearance by Chick Corea on drums—he collaborated remotely via video chat software like FaceTime or Skype. The result sounds nothing like what you might expect. The eclectic collection boasts influences that range back to Santana’s beginnings as part of the rhythm Section in San Francisco during 1970, but it never feels too weighed down by history.”

1. Supernatural

Supernatural was a significant financial success around the world, rekindling interest in Santana’s music. It peaked at No. 1 in eleven countries, including the United States, for 12 weeks in a row, where it was certified 15 platinum. The album had six singles, including “Smooth” by Rob Thomas, which topped out at number one all around America. It also includes some songwriting credit from him because of this collaboration between two eminent artists. Their efforts can indeed be heard when you listen closely enough to these lyrics, their fan-favourite “Maria Maria.”

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