Matchbox Twenty had all eyes on them when it was time to follow up their mega-blockbuster Mad Season. The group's second album sold four million copies and spun off the Top 5 hits "Bent" (a No. 1 smash) and "If You're Gone" - combined with frontman Rob Thomas' success as a guest on Santana's epic chart-topper "Smooth," the pressure was on.
So they recruited a heavy hitter for the album's lead single "Disease": Mick Jagger, legendary frontman for The Rolling Stones. How did they make that happen? As it turned out, Thomas was invited to write with Jagger off the strength of "Smooth." The British singer was gathering material for his 2001 solo album Goddess in the Doorway, and called Thomas up. The collaboration led to two tracks: "Vision of Paradise," which ended up on Jagger's album, and "Disease," which kicked off More Than You Think You Are.
"I had written 98 percent of it," Thomas told MTV at the time, "and I was thinking it would sound great if Mick sang this," Thomas said. "For the most part, I try to never let those two worlds come into each other. Any song I write that I'm really into, that's a Matchbox song, and I want to let the guys have the first right of refusal."
"I just knew that I was going to go into the studio with one of the greatest rock star/songwriters of all time and didn't want to show up empty handed," Thomas further discussed with Songfacts in 2020, "so I wrote the first verse and chorus the night before. It felt so good that he liked it but I was really happy when he decided 'Visions of Paradise' was going to be on his solo album but that Matchbox should do 'Disease' because he liked my voice on it."
"Disease" ended up being the band's fifth Top 40 hit, and helped propel More Than You Think You Are to the upper reaches of the pop charts. It reached No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and sold a cool two million copies - to quote the other writer of "Disease," you could call that satisfaction!