At first, Gregg Rolie wasn’t so sure about a classic Santana song: ‘What the hell do I do with this?’

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Interest in the classic era of Santana couldn’t be higher, with the news that the band is working again on a studio project. They’ll be building on the successes of legendary tracks like “Oye Como Va,” the 1971 No. 13 hit plucked from Abraxas after its release in September 1970.

Not that lead singer and organist Gregg Rolie saw that one coming.

“Carlos brought it into the band in, I guess, 1970,” Rolie once said, “and my first inclination was: ‘What the hell do I do with this?’ It’s a Tito Puente song, and I was writing things like ‘Hope You’re Feeling Better.’ But he brought this in, and it turned out to be one of my favorites.”

Neal Schon, who worked with Gregg Rolie both in Santana and then later in the early incarnations of Journey, helped broker a long-hoped-for reunion. Carlos Santana, Michael Carabello, Michael Shrieve and Rolie were key figures on both the groundbreaking Santana and Abraxas albums in 1969-70. Schon joined for 1971’s Santana III and 1972’s Caravanserai.

Carlos Santana and Gregg Rolie have already taken the stage alongside the current Journey lineup for a guest appearance. Rolie has otherwise kept busy working with Ringo Starr as part of the longest-running All-Starr Band lineup ever.

They memorably slotted “Oye Como Va” in place of the Santana hit “Everybody’s Everything,” a No. 12 hit from 1971, for a string of 2013 dates in Brazil and Argentina: “I said: ‘Ringo, you’re the boss, but if we go to South America and play ‘Oye Como Va,’ I think they might go nuts.’ He goes: ‘Done!,’ Gregg Rolie adds, showing off a canny imitation of Ringo Starr’s Liverpudlian accent.

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