Rob Thomas Says ‘Smooth’ Was Inspired by George Michael

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George Michael Performs In Birmingham
Photo: Steve Thorne/Redferns via Getty Images

Man, it’s a hot one. “Smooth” — the Santana–Rob Thomas track on repeat in chain cantinas across the world — was written with George Michael in mind, according to Thomas. When the Matchbox 20 singer was called in to write a song for Santana, Thomas said Michael was a clear influence. “I’d had George in my head when I recorded the vocals in the first place,” Thomas wrote in Billboard. “If you listen to the melody and the cadence, it’s an attempt to emulate his style.” Even though Michael never sang on the track, Thomas said he was able to express his admiration in real life: “I got the opportunity to spend a fair share of time with George. After my third glass of wine I would start to gush, and he would respond, as he did with everything, like a true gentleman, with kind words and insight.” So next time you listen to the Grammy Award–winning 1999 hit “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 off the multiplatinum album Supernatural remember that you have George Michael to thank.

George Michael Inspired ‘Smooth’ Says Rob Thomas