Friday, December 30, 2011

Carlos Santana – 25 Hits

Santana was iconic name for early fusion rock. Thank to bright personality of Carlos Santana and famous group bearing his name from the guitarist, Latin music became one of essential elements in rock fusion style. Great success of the group during Woodstock Festival and phenomenal popularity of first two records were starting point for the history of later albums worrying decline. Older albums were still in the spotlight of record shopping customers but newer were bought more by force of habit. From the other hand music market and specially pop music market in mid-seventies became very unstable. Trying to sustain interest in aging Santana’s records CBS published older and still unbeatable songs on album Greatest Hits in 1974 and four years later, in 1978 the double LP album 25 Hits. In the seventies record industry has still giving a chance to promote valuable phenomena in their marketing policy.
Republishing Santana’s hits was like giving this music the second chance. With generally the same quality of pressing as originals, both compilations have the same sound space as earlier editions. And both became perfect opportunity for renewing the way Santana was perceived. Between late sixties when Santana was a kind of musical and ideological phenomenon and second half of seventies many has changed. First of all there was new generation of disco and punk rock fans who seen Santana as too hermetic. Carlos Santana’s guitar solos were still interesting but for gradually smaller part of audience. No wonder these two albums have place in official artist’s discography. It’s understandable, these compilation was planned as the next success of the group. And this plan worked with almost immediate success – only in US first Santana hits album has been sold in 7 millions of copies.

Carlos Santana – 25 Hits (1978)

Success of second album was not so remarkable although it was noted on bestseller charts and sales in France earned a golden record. It’s interesting question, why only first of these two albums have its place in discography on official artist’s page. Almost complete material from first anthology has been moved to double album, the two songs omitted were Hope You’re Feeling Better from Abraxas and Everything’s Coming Our Way from Santana III album – maybe not number one hits, but pretty good music to return to, and maybe to keep in mind. In other words, it’s difficult to adjudicate if publisher choices are kind of testing alternative collection of songs or this is just an attempt to collect some more money out of popularity of previously published pieces or even to earn on artist fame. Especially for critics who are trying to find more rational criterion for a medley than popularity of every song.
The 25 Hits set could has been a great introduction to a young audience into the world of Santana’s music. Various songs from eight previous albums, and not all of them were number one hits, set in new context, gave listeners a great possibility to renew Santana’s creative image. Interesting combination of the program allows to redefine one’s approach to the style of Carlos Santana. It’s interesting producers of 25 Hits album considering Santana’s songs found that the older they are, the better they are. Probably not by accident they used as much as six songs from debut album Santana and from first three Santana albums comes more than half of material published here. A little bit pressure they also applied to the newer songs especially these promising more commercial potential from 1976 albums Festivàl and Amigos. No songs from the most recent album Moonflower (1977) also points to the marketing key of tracks selection.

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