George Michael almost sang Smooth hit with Santana

Rocker Rob Thomas wanted George Michael to sing Smooth with Carlos Santana.

The Matchbox Twenty star was recruited to write a track for the guitar great's 1999 album Supernatural, and he admits the late former Wham! star inspired him to create the song that went on to win Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocal - and became the second most successful hit of all-time, according to Billboard.com.

But it almost didn't feature Thomas at all, because he wanted Michael to sing on the track.

"This was going to be my first time writing a song that I didn't perform on, and I was hoping it would set me up as a writer," he tells Billboard.

"When we finished the song, which we called Smooth, the conversation came around to who should sing it. My first thought was George Michael. In fact, I'd had George in my head when I recorded the vocals in the first place. If you listen to the melody and the cadence, it's an attempt to emulate his style."

Santana passed on the idea and urged Thomas to sing on his own song.

The rocker admits he has always been a big fan of George Michael, and got the chance to tell him on a few occasions: "Because we shared the same manager, 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."

Thomas reveals his admiration of the Brit, who died on Christmas Day (25Dec16), bled into his own music and videos.

"My first solo album was my shift from Wham! to Faith," he says. "My first solo video had pieces of George all over it: the close-up on the boots, the dance... Even my most recent album cover was a lift from the Wham! Bad Boys video."

More news

Britney Spears fell for new man over sushi
Ariana Grande wishes soulmate Mac Miller a happy birthday
Lionel Richie producing Sammy Davis Jr. biopic
Idina Menzel: My son uses Frozen to chat up girls
Fifth Harmony get wrapped up in bondage-style outfits for People’s Choice Awards performance
Students join waiting list to study cultural icon Kanye West at college
Azealia Banks: Id love to perform at Donald Trumps inauguration
Gene Simmons: No more KISS albums until there is a financial model that works
Metallica set to play at 2017 Grammy Awards
Paul McCartney files lawsuit against Sony for Beatles song rights