In 1969 and 1970, Santana’s first two albums, the self-titled Santana, and Abraxas, were smash hits. For the next 29 years, Santana never again reached that height of commercial success. Then, incredibly, in 1999, Carlos Santana released a group of collaborations with well-known, mostly much younger artists.

Super Natural CD or Album
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Supernatural not only sold like gangbusters (it eventually posted sales in excess of 25 million), but it received no less than eight Grammy awards. The first — and most successful — single released was a dance-friendly Cha Cha, co-written and sung by Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, called “Smooth.”

Latin-Rock Video

Check out the new video for this guitar and percussion-driven song by the leading Santana Tribute and Latin-rock band.

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Though the song was not written by Carlos Santana (Thomas’ co-writer was Itaal Shur), Smooth fit Santana like a glove. Departing slightly from his beloved Dorian mode, Carlos shifts from A minor (natural minor, or Aeolian mode) to A harmonic minor (raised 7th), to accommodate the more traditional dominant 7th V chord (E7) in the progression.

Smooth starts almost immediately with Santana’s simple guitar melody, which becomes a thematic element throughout the song. The rhythm section includes piano and organ, drums, congas, timbales, a guiro, and some aggressive horn stabs. (An especially notable touch is the “cascara,” a sidesticked timbale technique, utilized throughout the verses.)

Santana plays between and under the vocal track, moving effortlessly from Aeolian mode to harmonic minor. Mainly English, but including some spanish phrases for effect, the lyrics, written by vocalist Rob Thomas, employ clever wordplay and evocative imagery. Smooth fades out to Santana’s wailing riffs over the outro.

It’s easy to see why record label executive Clive Davis, who was the impetus behind the concept of Supernatural, has become such a legend in the music business. When everyone else was content to let Carlos Santana slowly fade into a kind of emeritus status, Davis saw the potential and started the wheels rolling.

While he has not yet produced another song the equal of Smooth, Carlos Santana’s career has taken on vibrant new life, including additional albums, clothing and fragrance lines in his name, and increasing public awareness, especially in the younger generations.

Smooth Lyrics

Man it’s a hot one
Like seven inches from the midday sun
I hear you whisper and the words melt everyone
But you stay so cool
My mu equita my spanish harlem mona lisa
You’re my reason for reason
The step in my groove

And if you say this life ain’t good enough
I would give my world to lift you up
I could change my life to better suit your mood
Cause you’re so smooth

And just like the ocean under the moon
Well that’s the same emotion that I get from you
You got the kind of lovin’ that can be so smooth
Gimme your heart make it real
Or else forget about it

I’ll tell you one thing
If you would leave it’d be a crying shame
In every breath and every word I hear your name calling me out
Out from the barrio you hear my rhythm from your radio
You feel the turning of the world so soft and slow
Turning you round and round

Smooth Chords

Am – Fdim – E7

Am7 – E7 – Am7 – E7
Dm7 – E7 – Am7 – E7

Pre Chorus
Am7 – E7 – Am7 – E7
Am7 – E7 – Dm7 – Em7 – E7

Am7 – E7 – Am7 – E7
Am7 – E7 – Dm7 – Em7 – E7#9

Am7 – E7