Sunday, October 24, 1999

Santana hit #1 with "Smooth" for first of 12 weeks


Santana with Rob Thomas

Writer(s): Itaal Shur, Rob Thomas (see lyrics here)

First Charted: June 26, 1999

Peak: 112 US, 17 RR, 11 AC, 125 A40, 113 AA, 10 AR, 24 MR, 3 UK, 11 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.7 US, 0.4 UK, 2.24 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 263.3 video, 200.82 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

When Santana hit #1 on the pop charts with “Smooth”, it marked the 30th anniversary of his chart debut on the Billboard 100 and the longest span in chart history between an artist’s chart debut and first trip to #1. SF In October 1969, “Jingo” became Carlos’ first hit, albeit it a minor one with a peak at #56. Over the next few years, he had notable hits with “Evil Ways” (#9), “Black Magic Woman” (#4), and Oye Como Va” (#13). He regularly landed top 40 hits during the 1970s, but by the 1980s, his success with singles had dwindled. He landed only five songs on the Hot 100 during the entire decade, although “Winning” and “Hold On” were top 20 hits.

Arista Records’ chief Clive Davis, who had worked with Santana at Columbia Records, signed him to record an album with an all-star guest roster. Santana had been fronted by many lead singers over the years, but this was a new approach. Among those lending their aid to Santana’s comeback were Eric Clapton, Cee-Lo Green, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Dave Matthews, and Rob Thomas. Thomas was one of the hottest names around as the front man of pop-rock group Matchbox 20. His co-writing and singing on “Smooth” launched one of the most impressive career resurgences in chart history.

Itaal Shur, a songwriter and producer who had worked with Jewel and Maxwell, brought a song called “Room One Seven” to Arista. They liked the instrumental, but thought his lyrics were too sexual and tapped Thomas for a rewrite. SF Inspired by his wife’s Puerto Rican descent, Thomas crafted the new song with the Spanish-flavored lyrics. WK Thomas envisioned George Michael singing the song, but recorded a demo to play for Santana. WK

With “Smooth”, Santana didn’t just land the biggest hit of his career, but the biggest pop single of 1999. WHC In its 2008 run-down of the biggest hits in the fifty-year history of the Hot 100, Billboard magazine named it the #2 all-time song on that chart. BB100 “Smooth” spent a dozen weeks at the chart pinnacle and a grand total of 30 weeks in the top 10.

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First posted 10/23/2011; updated 4/25/2021.

Monday, October 18, 1999

Marillion released


Released: October 18, 1999

Peak: -- US, 53 UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: neo-progressive rock


Song Title [time] (single release)

  1. A Legacy [6:16] (10/99, promo sampler)
  2. Deserve [4:23] (10/99, promo sampler)
  3. Go! [6:11]
  4. Rich [5:42] (10/99, promo sampler)
  5. Enlightened [4:59]
  6. Built-in Bastard Radar [4:52]
  7. Tumble Down the Years [4:33]
  8. Interior Lulu [15:14]
  9. House [10:15]

Lyrics by Steve Hogarth and John Helmer; music by Marillion (Hogarth/ Kelly/ Mosley/ Rothery/ Trewavas).

Total Running Time: 62:28

The Players:

  • Steve Hogarth (vocals, percussion)
  • Steve Rothery (guitar)
  • Pete Trewavas (bass)
  • Mark Kelly (keyboards)
  • Ian Mosley (drums)


3.014 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

After being dropped by the EMI label in 1995, Marillion released three albums which were distributed through Castle Communications. was the last of those albums before the group became independent. WK Their commercial clout continued to drop and no official singles were released to promote the album, although Deserve was a promo single and Rich was a radio single in Brazil. WK Those songs and A Legacy were released on a three-track sampler in October 1999.

Tumble Down the Years and Interior Lulu were actually recorded during sessions for Radiation, WK which may account for the band “seeming to maintain some of the alternative pop style of its predecessor.” AMG However, “this album also seems to hark back to an older Marillion era while still reaching into the future…It is a very entertaining album that really grows on you.” AMG One track, House, even “features a dance (trip hop) influence.” WK It had the working title of “The Massive Attack Song.” WK

Even as they seem intent on “creating a new niche for itself in a more modern rock field…[they are] still pulling in some of its legacy. Among the influences that appear on this disc are such diverse artists as Jellyfish, Yes, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and ELP.” AMG

Marillion were certainly ahead of the game when it came to connection and promotion with fans. The title came from the band’s “then-new approach in using the Internet to communicate with their fans.” WK The band had used crowdfunding to finance a North American tour in 1997 and, from the next album forward, would lean heavily on that tool for financing the recording of their new albums via pre-orders.

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First posted 3/14/2008; last updated 8/7/2021.

Saturday, October 16, 1999

Creed hit #1 with Human Clay: October 16, 1999

Originally posted October 16, 2012.

“Creed burst out of Florida with 1997’s My Own Prison, a dark but commercial debut reminiscent of the early-‘90s Seattle sound. Creed’s moody guitar grunge and ardent lyrics, coupled with singer Scott Stapp’s passionate vocals, helped My Own Prison sell millions.” KT Human Clay proved even more successful, debuting at #1 in the U.S. and selling 17 million copies worldwide.

The first single, Higher, “is typical Creed – safe, emotive guitar rock for the masses, but with a slight edge.” KT It spent a then-record 17 weeks atop the album rock tracks chart. The third single, With Arms Wide Open, reached even higher, going all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, a rare occurrence for a rock band at a time when boy bands ruled the charts.

The group didn’t mess with the success of their first album, turning out a “a sophomore outing rife with evocative moodiness, soaring guitars, and a dark, roiling, intense vibe.” KT “Nobody could figure out why this group managed to not just survive, but thrive…After all, at the time, not only were post-grunge bands dying, but so were such grunge heavyweights as Pearl Jam and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell.” STE

When one listens to the album, though, “a realization sets in: Unlike their influences – from Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains to Stone Temple Pilots – Creed is happy to be a rock band.” STE “Their music may not be particularly joyous and they may even favor foreboding, heavy riffs, but they’re not trying to stretch into political causes or worldbeat like Pearl Jam; they’re not reveling in dark psychedelia like Soundgarden; nor are they attempting a glam Abbey Road like Stone Temple Pilots.” STE This “a straightforward grunge and hard rock band, embracing everything that goes along with that.” STE “They might not have as strong an identity as their forefathers, but they’re not faceless.” STE It makes “Human Clay at once compelling and effectively redundant.” KT

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Monday, October 4, 1999

David Bowie Hours released


David Bowie

Released: October 4, 1999

Peak: 47 US, 5 UK, 21 CN, 33 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.06 UK, 1.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: glam rock/classic rock veteran


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Thursday’s Child [5:24] (9/20/99, 16 UK)
  2. Something in the Air [5:46]
  3. Survive [4:11] (1/24/00, 28 UK)
  4. If I’m Dreaming My Life [7:04]
  5. Seven [4:04] (7/1/00, 32 UK)
  6. What’s Really Happening? (Bowie/Gabrels/Grant) [4:10]
  7. The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell [4:40] (9/20/99, B-side of “Thursday’s Child”)
  8. New Angels of Promise [4:35]
  9. Brilliant Adventure [1:54]
  10. The Dreamers [5:14]

Songs written by Bowie/Gabrels unless indicated otherwise.

Total Running Time: 47:02

The Players:

  • David Bowie (vocals, drum programming, 12-stirng guitar, keyboards, producer)
  • Reeves Gabrels (programming, synthesizers, guitar)
  • Sterling Campbell, Mike Levesque (drums)
  • Mark Plati (bass, guitar, synth and drum programming, mellotron on “Survive”)
  • Everett Bradley (percussion on “Seven”)
  • Chris Haskett (rhythm guitar on “If I’m Dreaming My Life”)
  • Holly Palmer (backing vocals on “Thursday’s Child”)


3.206 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Since David Bowie spent the '90s jumping from style to style, it comes as a shock that Hours, his final album of the decade, is a relatively straightforward affair. Not only that, but it feels unlike anything else in his catalog. Bowie's music has always been a product of artifice, intelligence, and synthesis. Hours is a relaxed, natural departure from this method.” AMG

“Arriving after two labored albums, the shift in tone is quite refreshing. Thursday's Child, the album's engaging mid-tempo opener, is a good indication of what lays ahead. It feels like classic Bowie, yet recalls no specific era of his career. For the first time, Bowie has absorbed all the disparate strands of his music, from Hunky Dory through Earthling.” AMG

“That doesn't mean Hours is on par with his earlier masterworks; it never attempts to be that bold. What it does mean is that it's the first album where he has accepted his past and is willing to use it as a foundation for new music. That's the reason why Hours feels open, even organic — he's no longer self-conscious, either about living up to his past or creating a new future. It's a welcome change, and it produces some fine music, particularly on the first half of the record, which is filled with such subdued, subtly winning songs as Something in the Air, Survive, and Seven.” AMG

“Toward the end of the album, Bowie branches into harder material, which isn't quite as successful as the first half of the album, yet shares a similar sensibility. And that's what's appealing about Hours — it may not be one of Bowie's classics, but it's the work of a masterful musician who has begun to enjoy his craft again and isn't afraid to let things develop naturally.” AMG

Notes: The Japanese release includes bonus track “We All Go Through.” The 2004 Columbia Records reissue includes “We All Go Through” as well as alternate versions of “Survive,” “Seven,” and “The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell.”

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First posted 2/20/2008; last updated 8/3/2021.