“Black Magic Woman” – The Story Behind The Song
When Carlos Santana wrote “Black Magic Woman,” …wait. Carlos Santana didn’t write “Black Magic Woman.” It’s a cover. Peter Green, a founding member of Fleetwood Mac, wrote the song. It was released by Fleetwood Mac in 1968 and peaked at #37 in the UK. In 1970, that same song became Santana’s first release from his album, Abraxas, and it went to #4 in the U.S. and Canada.
When Carlos Santana played Woodstock, he had yet not released an album. He was one of the most unknown artists. Basically, his manager, Bill Graham, forced the band’s way onto the bill. A couple of weeks later, riding the great press from his Woodstock performance, Santana released “Black Magic Woman” and the rest is history.
Santana and Fleetwood Mac both started out as blues bands. Carlos Santana spoke of his love for early Fleetwood Mac in the book, The Guitar Greats, “I used to go to see the original Fleetwood Mac, and they used to kill me, just knock me out… To me, they were the best blues band.”
The “Black Magic Woman” Effect
Peter Green, lived off of royalties after he left Fleetwood Mac. He gave away most of his money when he left Fleetwood Mac, saying he wanted to live a Christian life. Peter could have ended up penniless by the end of the ’70s, if it weren’t for royalty money. He ended up taking jobs wherever he could find work, including one as a grave digger.
Ironically, it was AFTER Fleetwood Mac released “Black Magic Woman” that Peter ended up becoming friends with some people who were rumored to be into actual black magic and the occult. Christine McVie said these were the people who introduced Peter to acid, which led to Green leaving Fleetwood Mac, according to her 1977 interview in Rolling Stone Magazine.