Before recording their next album, Rob Thomas wrote a song for Carlos Santana's comeback album, on which he sang vocals. The song, "Smooth," became the album's lead single and a gigantic smash hit in 1999, and Thomas would earn several Grammys for writing it. Also, on the shoot of the "Smooth" video he met a model, Marisol Maldonald, who he began dating and would later marry.
In 2000, Matchbox Twenty renamed themselves "matchbox twenty" and released their second album, Mad Season. The video for their first single, "Bent," made fun of singer Thomas' heightened profile by showing the other band members mug and beat him mercilessly. "Bent," as well as "If You're Gone" and "Mad Season," also became large hits for the band.
For their third album, the other band members demanded equal songwriting credit. Sharing the songwriting duties proved to be a good idea, as the band once again had a greatly successful album, More Than You Think You Are that was omnipresent on radio for more than a year and a half with the hit singles "Disease," "Unwell," "Bright Lights," and "Downfall."