Like many people in show business, Carlos Santana began his career working in a restaurant. He washed dishes and did some busking on the side. He got his first break from Bill Graham, owner of the Fillmore West theater, when he was asked to replace guitarist Paul Butterfield who was too drunk to perform during a matinée. In 1967 Carlos and some fellow street musicians formed the band Santana which was known for its African and Latin infused music. The band got its big break when it was invited to perform at the 1969 Woodstock music festival. Here they are performing “Evil Ways” at that Woodstock show.
The first time I heard the song “Evil Ways” was in a Saturday Night Live Weekend Update skit sung by Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna. She added Bo Derek and nose hair (of course) but it was definitely “Evil Ways!” It got me thinking about how many songs I first heard as parodies like The Kink’s “Lola,” Wagner’s “Ride Of The Valkyries,” and this. What? He was serious? Oh that’s sad!