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Going back to the well

November 03, 2002|Agustin Gurza

Clive Davis knew the gods and the odds were against another "Supernatural," Santana's phenomenal 1999 bestseller. "People would say, 'Oh, this could never happen again; lightning could not strike twice,' " said the fabled label executive, who first signed Carlos Santana's band to Columbia Records in 1968 and masterminded his comeback 30 years later for Arista. "We just said, 'Look, we will not be intimidated by the all-time success of "Supernatural." ' "

For "Shaman," released Oct. 22, Davis stuck to the "blueprint" that worked "Supernatural" magic. Santana picked half the songs to suit his style and Davis picked half to suit radio formats, all pairing the veteran guitarist with young collaborators. They wound up with so much material this time -- 50 songs -- that Santana for a while wanted a double album. There's still talk of an all-Spanish release.

One that didn't make the new album, though everybody loved it, was called "Your Satellite," written by Rob Thomas and sung by salsa-pop star Marc Anthony. "Marc was on fire, and the chemistry was amazing," producer Lester Mendez said. "Clive was not letting that one go." But Santana said contractual problems between record labels (Anthony is with Columbia) eventually scuttled "Satellite."

As for expectations of matching the 25 million worldwide sales of "Supernatural," Davis says: "People will be surprised that we can get anywhere near it. And I sort of like that surprise."

-- Agustin Gurza

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