Sunday, September 21, 2008
The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (#2)
It was after his band's reunion show in 1997 at New York's Radio City Music Hall when the artist realized that his younger children were growing up without ever having heard his music over the radio; after all, his last big hit was in 1982. And so he got together with mega record executive Clive Davis (the same man who signed him up with the Columbia label in the late 60s) and then-Arista senior director Pete Ganbarg to produce an album designed to reach junior high schools, high schools, and universities. The man is Carlos Santana, and the album was to be SUPERNATURAL.
For the project, Davis and Ganbarg gathered the current who's who in the music industry to collaborate with Santana, among them songwriter Itaal Shur, who submitted the song ROOM 17 for SUPERNATURAL. The lyrics went: Room 17, on the 17th floor, meet me at the elevator and I'll take you to the door.
Producers were not very happy the lyrics, and so they convinced Shur to allow another songwriter to play with the words that would accompany Shur's already engaging music. The man they hired, Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas. After numerous revisions, Davis and Ganbarg (who let Santana hear the demo) were extremely happy with Thomas's work. The hitch? Santana was not.
Santana's manager approached Ganbarg and advised him that maybe Davis could assure the guitarist that the song would be a hit. The manager said, "With all due respect, he's known you for around 2 or 3 years now. He's known Clive Davis for 30." And so Davis immediately sent Santana a fax that read: "Dear Carlos, I really believe in the song. We're gonna hire Matt Serletic to produce it. I think with Matt's vision, with Rob Thomas on vocal and with your guitar, I think it would be very special."
An hour later, Santana's manager called saying that Carlos would record the song, SMOOTH.
The song broke the airwaves in July 1999, eventually hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying there for an incredible 12 weeks. In February 2000, SMOOTH won the Grammy Awards for record of the year and best pop collaboration with vocals.
Santana later called Ganbarg saying, "Pete, It's Carlos. I'm calling to apologize. You were right. I was wrong. And thank you for giving me a song I'll be playing for the rest of my life."
Let's see the official SMOOTH video featuring the reluctant Rob Thomas on vocals. Thomas had wanted George Michael to record his lyrics, but was outvoted by record producers.
We're just one step away to revealing Billboard's biggest hit of all time! The artist? A happy and chubby one today at age 66....