Written by band member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes with Marqueze Etheridge and Organized Noise for TLC second album: “CrazySexyCool” (1994), “Waterfalls” is deemed the group’s signature song, and received two Grammy nominations at the 38th Grammy Awards in 1996 for “Record of the Year” and “Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal”.
The song discusses issues of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and promiscuity, with lines such as “Three letters took him to his final resting place”, “who’s to blame for tooting ‘caine into your own vein”, as well as “but I think you’re moving too fast” in the chorus. The track is first number one song to ever reference AIDS in one of its verses.
The music video had a million dollar budget, and won four MTV Vidoe Music Awards in 1995: “Video of the Year”, “Best Group Video”, ” Best R&B Video” and the “Viewer’s Choice Award”. Directed by Gary Gray, the videos follows along with the issues of the song, showing the story of a young man going against his mother’s advice to stop selling drugs, while in another scene a couple is shown convincing her partner not to use a condom. The video also adds in scenes of TLC performing the song while in front of a real waterfall. The video ends with the young drug dealer appearing in ghost form, trying to hug his mum down the street but she walks right through him, while the couple who didn’t practice safe sex both die from AIDS. The music video was uploaded to TLC’s VEVO channel on YouTube in July 2010, and has over 83 million views.
Release Date: 29th May 1995
Songwriter/s: Marqueze Etheridge, Lisa Lopes & Organized Noize
Producer/s: Organized Noize
Label/s: LaFace / Arista
Music Video Release Date: 1995
Music Video Director: F. Gary Gray
Chart Rankings, Certifications & Awards: In its year of release, the track reached the top charts in Australia, the US, the UK, New Zealand, France and Switzerland. I went Platinum in Australia, New Zealand, Norway and the US, as well as receiving Gold certification in the UK and Germany.