Smooth – Santana (Featuring Rob Thomas)

THIS DAY IN MUSIC……………………………….October the 28th of 1999 finds Santana sitting at #1 on  for the first week of 12 on Billboards’ Hot 100 Pop Chart. Thirty years after making his initial US chart appearance with a song called “Jingo”, Carlos Santana had his first number one hit with “Smooth”. The track, which features the vocals of Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty, would stay at the top for twelve weeks and remained in the top ten for a record setting 30 weeks. Rob Thomas wrote this with Itaal Shur, a songwriter and producer who has worked with Jewel, Robi Rosa and Maxwell (co-writing his first hit, “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder).” Thomas sang lead on this, but that wasn’t the plan. He had never written a song for someone else before, so he jumped at the chance to write a song with Shur for Santana, figuring it would boost his songwriting bona fides. When they finished the song, Thomas suggested George Michael, one of his musical heroes, as the vocalist. Arista Records ended up asking Thomas to do the vocals, and when he did, it was in Michael’s style. “If you listen to the melody and the cadence, it’s an attempt to emulate his style in so many ways,” he told Billboard. Many of the lyrics are Thomas’ ode to his wife, the former Marisol Maldonado, who is Puerto Rican. “My Mu Equita” translates to “My Little Doll” in Spanish; Thomas also calls her his “Spanish Harlem Mona Lisa.” Marisol appears in the video.This won Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year at the 2000 Grammys. Supernatural also won for Best Rock Album and Album Of The Year. Clive Davis is a legendary record executive who was the mastermind behind this album. Santana had not had a hit since “Hold On” in 1982, so Davis teamed him up with contemporary musicians like Wyclef Jean, Everlast and Lauryn Hill to make sure the younger generation took notice. The result was a wildly successful album that went over well with Santana’s old fans and created a legion of new ones. The song was also a Top 10 hit in the UK reaching #3.