Saturday, February 17, 2018

TLC – "Waterfalls" (1995)

Don't go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes
That you're used to

If you were ranking the greatest female vocal trios of all time, you have to give the Supremes the #1 spot.  But who would you rank as #2?

Some might say Martha and the Vandellas.  Others would vote for Destiny’s Child.

But I think TLC deserves to be #2.  

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The name of TLC’s second album, CrazySexyCool, describes the group to a “T” – especially the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (who was only 30 when she died in a car crash in Honduras).

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes
In 1994, while living with Atlanta Falcons star Andre Rison, Lopes got her knickers in a twist one night and jumped all over Rison when he came home at 5 AM.  It seems that he had bought several pairs of fancy new sneakers for himself but hadn’t bought any for her.  

Rison slapped her – in his words, “to calm her down.”  When that didn’t work, he threw her on their bed and sat on her.  And when that didn’t work either, Rison left the house.

Lopes put his new shoes in a bathtub and set fire to them.  The next thing anyone knew, the whole damn house (which was worth an estimated $2 million) had burned down:

“Left Eye,” who went into rehab after the incident, was eventually convicted of arson, ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, and sentenced to five years probation.

Only $10,000?  Just before Lopes started dating Rison, TLC released their debut album, which sold four million copies.  CrazySexyCool – which was released only a few months after Lopes went all medieval on Rison’s ass – would eventually sell eleven million copies.  (It remains the only album by a female vocal group to “go diamond” – that is, sell ten million copies or more.)

Yet TLC declared bankruptcy in 1995 – despite having sold 15 million albums and having seven top ten hits in the previous three years.  Apparently TLC’s members had signed one of the worst record contracts of all time.  (They claimed that the more records they sold, the deeper they went into debt.)

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“Waterfalls,” the third single from CrazySexyCool, became TLC’s signature song.  It held down the #1 spot on the Billboard “Hot 100” for seven consecutive weeks in 1995, and was hugely successful in many foreign countries as well.

I vividly remember seeing the “Waterfalls” music video many times on MTV.  It won four awards at the MTV Video Music Awards – which were a big deal back in 1995 – and was nominated for the Grammy for “Record of the Year.”  (It lost to Seal’s “Kissed by a Rose.”)

Billboard recently ranked “Waterfalls” #11 on its “100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time” list – just ahead of “Heat Wave” (Martha and the Vandellas) and just behind “Leader of the Pack” (the Shangri-Las).  Personally, I’d rank it higher than that.

Here’s “Waterfalls,” which is a SILLY song:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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