TBT: 1999, When Rob Thomas and Santana Were So ‘Smooth’

by Alisha Jackson

During this week in 1999, Rob Thomas and Santana smoothly hung onto their number one Billboard Hot 100 spot for a second week, where they would remain for a total of 12.

“Smooth” stayed at number one up until January 15th of 2000, which makes the single the final number-one Hot 100 hit of the 1990’s. Check out some other throwback tidbits you may not have known about the song below!

1. The song was originally called “Room 17.”

“Room 17” was written by songwriter Itaal Shur. An instrumental version of his song was given to Rob Thomas, who wrote the lyrics and melody for “Smooth.”

2. Santana decided that Rob Thomas should sing the song.

(Getty Images) (HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images)

“The original plan was I was going to be a writer for it,” Thomas told Billboard. “I thought George Michael should sing it. But I guess they liked my voice in the demo. I don’t think Carlos even knew who sang in it.”

3. Rob Thomas wrote the song for his wife, Marisol.

“When I met Carlos, the first thing he said was, ‘Hey you must be married to a Latin woman.’ Because of the lyrics,” Thomas told Billboard. “He said, ‘That’s the kind of thing a white guy married to a Latin woman would tell her.'”

You can watch Rob tell the story of the song’s origin backstage at the 2000 GRAMMY Awards in the video above.

4. The lyrics “My Spanish Harlem Mona Lisa” was inspired by Elton John.

The reference comes from Elton John’s song, “Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters,” which mentions Ben E. King’s song “Spanish Harlem.” You can watch Rob Thomas cover the song in the video above.

5. “Smooth” was Carlos Santana’s first number one hit.

Before “Smooth,” the closest he ever came to the top was number four with “Black Magic Woman” in 1971.

Those are your Throwback Tidbits for the 1999 hit, “Smooth”! Check back next Thursday for a brand new #TBT!

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