Sunday, December 8, 2013

Santana - Winning

It is nearly impossible to summarize Carlos Santana's long and storied career in a few sentences, so we'll direct readers to Allmusic instead.  (how's that for a cop out?)  Suffice to say that his brand of Latin-influenced rock has been influential since the late 1960's.  It is also worth noting that the band's commercial success has ebbed and flowed through the years.

In general, the 1980's and 1990's (prior to 1999's Supernatural) were not terribly kind to the group, although they did have a few hits here and there.  One such hit was 1981's "Winning" from the Zeebop! album.  The song reached #17 on the charts, while the album hit #9.

I don't recall ever seeing the video on MTV which makes sense as Santana was seen as an older band in the early 1980's.  Additionally, the video itself is a basic performance piece that would not have stood out at the time. However, it is a solid song, highlighted by Santana's signature guitar sound and the strong vocals of Alex Ligertwood (lead singer of Santana from 1979 through 1994, with a bunch of breaks).

One cool aspect of "Winning" is that it is a cover of a song by Russ Ballard.  Ballard is an interesting figure who wrote several great rock songs, but never hit it big on his own.  His songwriting credits include:  "Free Me" (for Roger Daltrey),"You Can Do Magic," (America), "I Know There's Something Going On," (Frida), "New York Groove," (covered by Ace Frehley), and "I Surrender" and "Since You Been Gone" (both covered by Rainbow).

The Santana video:

The original version by Russ Ballard:

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