Songwriters: Carlos Santana, Gregg Rolie, Jose Areas, Dave Brown, Michael Carabello, Michael Shrieve
Original Release: Santana
Definitive Version: Anything from Woodstock, of which multiple releases exist. The one on my iTunes is from Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More, 1994.
I’m fascinated by how things can play out. Take Woodstock for example. Bill Graham had two San Francisco acts he wanted to slot at Woodstock. One was It’s a Beautiful Day. Debbie liked them, and they're as folky-trippy as you would expect a San Francisco band that had that name would be. (I recently found out Laurie likes them, too.)
The other was the group that the show promoter selected based on a coin flip, an act no one ever heard of that had a one-word title taken from the surname of the band’s lead guitarist: Santana. The rest, as they say, is history.
Although we’ll never know for sure, I think Santana still would’ve been big even if they hadn’t been so chosen. But their electric performance at Woodstock highlighted by this volcanic eruption of a song made them instant superstars.
The first time I watched Woodstock had to have been not long after discovering The Who, probably sometime in 1980, and I made a tape of my favorite performances that I listened to for a long time thereafter. Needless to say—but I’ll say it anyway—Soul Sacrifice was among my selections, and I didn’t require a coin toss to get it on there.
That would have been one of the tapes I would have taken with me when Jin and I went to England that summer had I actually had something to play it on. I didn’t, much to my regret on the flight over.
The journey back home was a different story. I don’t know that anything would’ve helped me on that one.
Our flight from London to New York ran late for reasons I don’t recall. What I recall is we had little time to get through customs and then get from the Pan Am terminal to the Eastern terminal. With the delay, we had no room for error.
Customs was no problem, although it was humorous to have to explain to the agent that the four boxes we carried contained empty beer cans. Empty beer cans? That’s right.
I had spent a large portion of the vacation collecting—and later rinsing out—beer cans found at pubs or restaurants, at the park, wherever I could. I was reaching the end of my time collecting beer cans, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to load up on the numerous brands England had available. I must have had more than 100, including doubles, when all was said and done.
The agent seemed skeptical, but when he lifted the boxes, he could tell right away that they weren’t heavy. He let us through. However, as you might imagine, the boxes were difficult to transport quickly, and we had to get to the Eastern terminal NOW.
We grabbed the first cab and fought through the traffic at JFK. I remember that we gave the guy like a ten for a $3 fare. I couldn’t wait for change. We ran into the terminal to check in … and our faces fell when we saw the lines stretch from the baggage-check counter out the door. And none was moving.
I went to the front of the line and asked if we were in the right place. I was told to get to the back of the line, not by other passengers but the counter clerk. Our flight to Columbus left in about a half-hour. Not my problem. Get to the back of the line.
It already had been a long day, and although Jin was in much better shape than she had been on the flight to London, she wasn’t feeling very well. Perhaps that could work to our advantage. Other kids seemed at various points to have help when traveling alone. Perhaps a kindly worker at Eastern would take pity on me with my ill younger sister and help us out. No dice. Get to the back of the line.
I don’t know whether it was the combination of boredom, bad airline food, a long flight, a lack of sleep and not getting any help from anyone that got to me, but I snapped. I was so frustrated—we had to get home, and we were going to miss our flight—that I couldn’t do anything but cry in anger.
Suddenly, a woman—another passenger in line—asked whether she could help. She was brunette in her mid-20s, I’d guess, and she reminded me of my aunt Nan. I told her of our plight and showed her my tickets. She said our bags—as well as us—already had been checked through to the end. What? No one told me that. Yes, she said, all you have to do is take the bags over here …
We gave them to a clerk outside the door. Now, you’re all set, just get to the gate on time, she implored. Run. RUN! We did.
I never got her name. I wished I had, and I hope for nothing but the best for her, because we sure would’ve missed our flight if she hadn’t stepped in. We arrived at the gate mere minutes before they closed the door. Whew!
And then we sat at the gate for 45 minutes. What’s going on? We were awaiting clearance. By this time, Jin had had enough and went to sleep with her head on the fold-out tray.
We finally pushed away and taxied out to the runway. The captain got on the p.a. saying that we were 26th in line, so it’d probably be another hour before takeoff. That’s when I gave up and joined Jin. I awoke just in time to hear the captain announce, “OK, now that we’re next in line, we’ve received a report of a thunderstorm coming in, so all flights are delayed. It’ll be another hour.” UGH!
From there, the night was a blur of brief awakenings—taking off, a quick stop in Philadelphia and then, finally, landing at Port Columbus … to no one at the airport to pick us up. It was late; Mom wasn’t going to drive out to get us, and I don’t remember what Dad was up to, unless he was at Torch Lake.
So Jin and I grabbed our luggage and all four beer-can boxes and trudged out to the cabstand. The cabbie—another guy whose name I never got—was great. He talked at length about beer-can collecting, and I made sure to give him a huge tip—pretty much all the money I had left—when we finally arrived home at about 1 in the morning.
School started the next day. I was entering my junior year at UAHS. I knew the drill, and I had absolutely no problem with taking a sick day on the first day of the school year. Jin, however, wouldn’t hear of it. She was entering seventh grade, her first day at Hastings, a new school, and she felt it was important to go in and get her bearings. Somehow she got up and went in to class.
Now that’s dedication … or insanity.