Put Your Lights On ~ Santana

Santana is a rock band based around guitarist Carlos Santana and founded in the late 1960s. It first came to public attention after they performed the song “Soul Sacrifice” at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, when their Latin rock provided a contrast to other acts on the bill. This initial exposure made their first, eponymous album a hit at the time, followed in the next two years by successful follow-ups Abraxas and Santana III.

Over the next few years, lineup changes were common and frequent, and although retaining a basis of Latin rock, Carlos Santana’s increasing involvement with guru Sri Chinmoy took the band further into more esoteric music, which continued for many years, although never quite losing the initial Latin influence.

The band was formed in 1967 in San Francisco as the Carlos Santana Blues Band with the help of Tom Fraser.  The first established members were Carlos Santana (lead guitar), Mike Carabello (percussion), Rod Harper (drums), David Brown (bass guitar) and Gregg Rolie (lead vocals, Hammond Organ B3). The group’s first audition with this line up was at the Avalon Ballroom in the late summer of 1967. After the audition, Chet Helms the promoter, in concert with The Family Dog, told the band that they would never make it in the San Francisco Music Scene playing Latin fusion and suggested Carlos keep his day job washing dishes at Tick Tock’s Drive-In on 3rd St.

The band was announced as one of the performers at the Woodstock Festival. Santana started recording their 1969 debut album in May 1969 and finished it in a month.

Santana would perform at the festival with a huge crowd. Later that month, they released their debut album which peaked at number 4 on the US Billboard 200 pop chart with the single “Evil Ways” being a top 10 single in the US.

Santana went on tour to promote the album and started work on their next album, Abraxas. Work started on the album in mid-April 1970 and was done in early-May 1970. The album was released in September 1970 and would peak at number 1 on the US Billboard 200. The album also featured a cover of the song written by Peter Green (who founded Fleetwood Mac) “Black Magic Woman”, which peaked at number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

From January to July 1971, Santana would work on another album. The album was called Santana III. Released in September 1971, the album would be another number 1 on the US Billboard 200 and would become the band’s peak popularity. This was the last album to feature the classic Woodstock era line-up of Santana.

Before recording their fourth album Caravanserai, there had been multiple line-up changes. Bassist David Brown left in 1971 before recording started and was replaced by Doug Rauch and Tom Rutley. Percussionist Michael Carabello left Santana and was replaced by Armando Peraza. Keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Rolie was replaced by Tom Coster on a few songs..

The band has turned over numerous times with scores of members, and since 1999 has had numerous guest singers.  The one band member that has remained constant throughout all has been Carlos Santana.

Put Your Lights On

“Put Your Lights On” is a single performed by Santana and Everlast for Santana’s album, Supernatural.

“Put Your Lights On” won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 2000 Grammy Awards.

Everlast wrote the song while recovering from a major heart attack that he had suffered in February 1998 (directly after completing recording his first solo album, Whitey Ford Sings the Blues). He has referred to it as “one of the most personal songs I ever wrote”, stating that the song was “kind of all about hope, but it’s coming from a really dark place you know, so… and really questioning a lot of your beliefs, and affirming, you know, stuff in your soul.”

Everlast converted to Islam in 1996, and the end of the song contains the words “La ilaha illa Allah”, (“there is no god but The God” in Arabic), the first part of the Shahada, the Islamic profession of faith.

Santana called Everlast in 1998, asking him if he could contribute a song for Supernatural, and Everlast suggested “Put Your Lights On”. According to Everlast, Santana loved the song, and “from then on everything went very fast.” Everlast has stated that he was unsure whether to include the Arabic-language portion in the recorded song, because “I did not want to sell Allah’s words”, but that Santana insisted that they be included.

Hey now, all you sinners
Put your lights on,
put your lights on
Hey now all you lovers
Put you lights on,
put your lights on

Hey now, all you killers
Put you lights on,
put you lights on
Hey now, all you children
Leave your lights on,
you better leave you lights on

‘Cause there’s a monster,
living under my bed,
whispering in my ear
And there’s an angel,
with a hand on my head
She say I got nothing to fear

There’s a darkness,
living deep in my soul
Its still got a purpose to serve
So let your lights shine,
deep into my home
God don’t let me lose my nerve,
don’t let me lose my nerve

Hey now, hey now,
hey now, hey now
Wo-oh hey now
Hey now, hey now,
hey now, hey now

Hey now, all you sinners
Put you lights on,
put you lights on
Hey now, all you children
Leave your lights on,
you better leave your lights on

‘Cause there’s a monster,
living under my bed,
whispering in my ear
And there’s an angel,
with a hand on my head
She say I got nothing to fear
She says, la elaha ela allah,
you don’t shine like a star
la elaha ela allah,
you don’t shine like a star
Never fade away

  • Audio from the 1999 album, Supernatural:
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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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