Single by Santana featuring Rob Thomas from the album Supernatural
Released June 29, 1999
Format CD single
Genre Latin rock, pop rock
Length 4:58 (Album Version)
4:00 (Radio Edit)
Writer(s) Rob Thomas, Itaal Shur
Producer Matt Serletic
Certification Platinum (US)
"Smooth" was originally conceived by Shur as a song called "Room 17". The lyrics were stripped off and the track was given to Thomas, who re-wrote the lyrics and melody and re-titled it "Smooth", then recorded the song as a demo to play for Santana.
This song was originally written to describe an acquaintance of Thomas', John Bizanes, who is... very 'smooth'. However, over time credit for this inspiration has been given to Thomas' wife, Marisol Maldonado. After hearing the song, Santana decided to have Thomas record the final version.
Matt Serletic (who produced Matchbox Twenty's debut album Yourself or Someone Like You) produced the song and it was released from Santana's album Supernatural.
Thomas wrote "Smooth" for his wife, Marisol Maldonado. He stated in interviews that the lyric "My Spanish Harlem Mona Lisa" was inspired by the 1972 Elton John song "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters", which includes references to the 1961 Ben E. King song "Spanish Harlem".
"Smooth" became a massive hit in 1999, spending 12 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 beginning with the October 23, 1999 issue. It was the first chart-topping song in Carlos Santana's long-running career (his previous biggest hit being "Black Magic Woman", which peaked at number four in 1971). The song was the last number one hit of the 1990s and the final number one hit of the 20th century.
In the United Kingdom, "Smooth" initially underperformed in the UK Singles Chart, charting at number 75 in October 1999. After extra airplay and publicity it was re-issued in March 2000 and this time peaked at number 3, spending eight weeks in the top 40.
"Smooth" also spent a record-breaking ten consecutive weeks at the top of the VSpot Top 20 Countdown, a record that held up until the Dixie Chicks broke it in 2006.