Santana, the debut album, was a massive success, including the #4 hit "Evil Ways." Abraxas (1970) did even better, topping the charts for six weeks and featuring the hits "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye Como Va." For Santana III (1971), the group expanded to a septet with the addition of guitarist Neal Schon, though an additional six sidemen were listed in the album credits. This album was #1 for five weeks.
Guitarist Santana released a live duet album with drummer and vocalist Buddy Miles (later a member of Santana) in 1972; then came the fourth Santana Band album, Caravanserai, on which different musician credits were listed for each track, none of them including bassist Dave Brown or percussionist Mike Carabello. The album was a Top Ten hit. Carlos released another duet album in 1973 with guitarist John McLaughlin (the two shared a guru), followed by Welcome, credited to "The New Santana Band," its only remaining original members being Santana, Mike Shrieve, Armando Peraza, and Jose Areas (Rolie and Schon had decamped to found Journey).
In subsequent years, "Santana" for the most part referred to Carlos and a band of hired musicians playing in the established Santana style, while the leader also made occasional solo albums that varied the style somewhat. In 1992, Santana ended his long association with Columbia and signed to Polydor, which set up a custom label for him, calling for him to sign his own new acts. Albums including Milagro and 1994's Santana Brothers followed before he severed ties with Polydor, signing to Arista for 1999's Supernatural. The album, an all-star affair featuring collaborations with artists ranging from Eric Clapton to Lauryn Hill, proved a surprise commercial blockbuster, scoring the number one hit "Smooth" (featuring Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas) on its way to bringing home a record-tying eight Grammy awards. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide