Today in rock history: on this date in 1970, Santana released its single “Black Magic Woman” from the band's breakthrough second album, Abraxas. The song was originally released as a single by the British blues-inspired rock band Fleetwood Mac in 1968 and written by former Fleetwood Mac member Peter Green. Santana’s version relied more heavily on the band’s Latin rock influences and also included a foray into “Gypsy Queen,” an instrumental composition by renowned Hungarian guitarist Gábor Szabó. The song was a massive hit for Santana peaking at No. 4 on Billboard’s pop singles chart and became one of the band’s most recognizable songs thanks to all the radio airplay it received upon its release. Read our review of Santana's recent Tampa set here.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1967, Jimi Hendrix appeared for the first time at London’s prestigious performance venue, the Royal Albert Hall. Anticipation was high for Jimi’s performance as the buzz surrounding the explosive new American guitarist and his incendiary debut album Are You Experienced? was all the rage around England. Hendrix kicked off his tour at the lofty hall with several opening acts as part of the bill including Roy Wood’s band The Move and Pink Floyd who made their debut as part of a rock and roll tour with this trek. Hendrix also played Tampa a year later. Read a bit more about that show in our Music Issue.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1960, Elvis Presley’s classic single “It’s Now Or Never” became the fastest selling single of all time in the U.K. The song sold over 750,000 copies in England within its first week of release and eventually went on to top British sales charts for eight straight weeks. The song became Presley’s best-selling single internationally topping sales in excess of 25 million copies sold worldwide. The single was based on the classic Italian song "'O Sole Mio" written by composer Eduardo di Capua who was given a songwriting credit on Elvis’s single release.
Today in rock history: on this date in 1970, Pink Floyd founder and original lead vocalist Syd Barrett released his second and final solo album of new material simply titled Barrett. After his departure from Floyd, Barrett became reclusive and shunned the limelight. He continued his musical career by releasing music on his own, most notably his debut solo album, the magnificent The Madcap Laughs. Syd’s second solo release was co-produced by David Gilmour and Richard Wright of Pink Floyd, and both musicians played on the record as well. The psychedelic, trippy record didn’t have much impact on sales charts but it remains a highly regarded work from the artistic and imaginative Barrett who also illustrated the album’s front cover artwork. Barrett left Pink Floyd in 1968 and was the inspiration for the band’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here. Syd Barrett passed away at age 60 in 2006.