Summary of “Carlos Santana, Rob Thomas on ‘Smooth’: Oral History – Rolling Stone”

Rob Thomas is well aware of the journey that “Smooth,” his 1999 collaboration with Carlos Santana, has taken during the past two decades.
Lamberg: I sent Rob the track and said, “I think you should come up with a lyric that isn’t about Carlos but it should describe what Carlos is.” He goes, “OK.”.
The manager does that, calls me back, and says, “Look, Carlos says with all due respect, Pete, he’s known you for two years. He’s known Clive for 30. If Clive personally tells him that in Clive Davis’ opinion this song is a hit, he will agree to record the song.”
Like an idiot, I go with my tail between my legs to Clive’s office and tell him that Carlos will not record this song unless Clive personally tells him that Clive believes the song’s a hit.
My first conversation with Carlos was about that, like, “Rob’s really a believable singer. He can bring it.” Carlos wanted to be assured, as any artist is with whatever doubts they have.
Now, can Carlos come back? Can Carlos Santana be on Top 40? All those questions come into play.
Thomas: It’s not the best song I’ve ever written and it’s not the best song Carlos has ever done.
VII. The Song Lives On. “Smooth” went on to be the Number One song in the country for three months, and Supernatural, the Santana album on which it appeared, sold more than 15 million copies.

The orginal article.