Category: tlc

On this day in music history: November 15, 1994 – “CrazySexyCool”, the second album by TLC is released. Produced by Dallas Austin, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Jermaine Dupri, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Organized Noize, Jon-John Robinson, Manuel Seal and Chucky Thompson, it is recorded at DARP Studios, KrossWire Studios, Doppler Studios, Bosstown Recording Studios, Curtom Studios in Atlanta, GA, The Hit Factory, Daddy’s House in New York City and Music Grinder Studios in Hollywood, CA from Late 1993 – September 1994. Smashing the charts with their debut album “Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip”, TLC are quickly established as one of the biggest new acts of the 90’s. Unfortunately, the group discover that they’ve attained fame, but reap none of the financial rewards. Signed to Perri “Pebbles” Reid’s management company Pebbitone, rather than directly to La’Face Records, T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli find that they are receiving only meager royalties on their record sales. But they’re paying all of the costs to record and promote their records, from their share. In spite of this, they’re still committed to a second album. At the time, Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes is dating and living with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Andre “Bad Moon” Rison. Lopes and Rison’s relationship is marred by constant arguments and physical fights. Coming home from a night out, Lisa finds boxes of sneakers Andre has purchased, and becomes angry when she finds he hasn’t bought any for her. She sets a pair of shoes on fire in Rison’s bathtub, to show her displeasure at his thoughtlessness. The fiberglass tub melts, and burns the house to the ground after Lopes flees the scene. Charged with arson, she checks into rehab for her alcoholism, stemming from her abusive upbringing, at the hands of her father. The incident inspires “Waterfalls” (#1 R&B, #1 Pop), with Lopes’ rap being written when she’s going to the studio. Titled “CrazySexyCool”, it is a description of TLC, with Left Eye being (“Crazy”), Chilli (“Sexy”) and T-Boz (“Cool”). An out of the box smash, it’s hailed as a great leap forward musically, showing their maturation from teen age girls into young women. It spins off four singles including “Creep” (#1 R&B, #1 Pop), “Red Light Special” (#5 R&B, #2 Pop) and “Diggin’ On You” (#7 R&B, #5 Pop). Other stand outs include a cover of Prince’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend”, “Kick Your Game” and “Sumthin’ Wicked This Way Comes”. “CrazySexyCool” is nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning two for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals in 1996. Issued as a promo only vinyl LP in 1994, it receives its first commercial release in 2012. “CrazySexyCool” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number three on the Top 200, and is certified 12x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification.

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TLC photographed by Ron Davis, 1999.

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Left Eye and Andre Rison photographed by Chris Cuffaro, 2000. 

On this day in music history: July 8, 1995 – “Waterfalls” by TLC hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Marqueze Etheridge, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Organized Noize, it is the second pop chart topper for the Atlanta, GA based R&B vocal trio. Written specifically for TLC, the production team Organized Noize base the song on both personal experiences, and those of people in their inner circle of friends and family. It also touches on timely topics such as the consequences of the drug trade and promiscuity. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ rap is inspired by her difficult upbringing and personal struggles. She pens the lyrics on the way to the studio, having been released from police custody after unintentionally burning down the mansion of her then boyfriend, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Andre Rison. The track also features background vocals by La’Face Records vocal mainstay Debra Killings and Cee-Lo Green, then a member of The Goodie Mob. Released as the third single from their second album “CrazySexyCool” on May 29, 1995, it becomes TLC’s biggest single. Entering the Hot 100 at #39 on June 10, 1995, it races to the top of the chart four weeks later. “Waterfalls” is supported by a memorable and cutting edge music video directed by F. Gary Gray (“Friday”, “The Italian Job”, “Straight Outta Compton”). At a cost of over $1,000,000, the clip is shot over two days on June 8th and 9th, 1995, on the back lot of Universal Studios, featuring actors Ella Joyce (“Rock”), Bokeem Woodbine (“Jason’s Lyric”, “The Rock”) and rapper Shyheim. The video wins four MTV VMA awards, including Video Of The Year, making TLC the first African Americans artists to win the award. The single receives Grammy Nominations for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Record Of The Year in 1996. “Waterfalls” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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TLC photographed by Matthew Jordan Smith, 1994.

On this day in music history: April 10, 1999 – “No Scrubs” by TLC hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 4 weeks on the same date. Written by Kevin “She’kspere” Briggs, Kandi Burruss, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, it is the third chart topping single for the Atlanta, GA based R&B vocal trio. Producer and songwriter Kevin “She’kspere” Briggs comes up with the initial idea for what becomes “No Scrubs” writing the music with some lyrics. Kandi Burruss (Briggs’ then girlfriend) and Tameka “Tiny” Cottle of the female R&B quartet Xscape hear Briggs’ track, and insist that they can come with better lyrics. Taking them up on their offer, he agrees. Burruss and Cottle completely re-write the lyrics coming up with the songs’ signature hook and chorus. Not long after the song is written, the girls play it for TLC’s producer Dallas Austin, who in turn tell execs at the groups label La’Face Records. Liking what they hear immediately, they secure the track for TLC. For the crowning touch, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes writes the songs’ rap verse. Issued as the first commercial single from the groups’ third album “FanMail” (the track “Silly Ho” is released to R&B radio only in December of 1998), the song also features background vocals (uncredited) by co-writers Burruss and Cottle. Entering the Hot 100 at #67 on February 13, 1999, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. The single wins the trio a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal" in 2000.

The chart topping success of TLC’s hit, inspires the answer record “No Pigeons” (#5 R&B, #12 Pop, #1 Rap) by the hip hop group Sporty Thievz in May of 1999. Their song follows “No Scrubs” up the charts, also earning them a Gold certified single.

"No Scrubs” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: February 25, 1992 – “Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip”, the debut album by TLC is released. Produced by L.A. Reid, Babyface, Daryl Simmons, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, Da Funky Bunch, Marley Marl and Kevin Roberson, it is recorded at Doppler Studios, Studio La CoCo, Bosstown Recording Studios in Atlanta, GA and Marley’s House Of Hits in Chestnut Ridge, NY from June – December 1991. Originally known as 2nd Nature, the group originally consists of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Crystal Jones. The girls audition for R&B singer Perri “Pebbles” Reid (“Girlfriend”, “Mercedes Boy”) who becomes their manager under her production company Pebbitone. Renaming them TLC (for Tionne, Lisa and Crystal) in early 1991, Reid arranges for the girls to audition for LaFace Records, formed by her then husband L.A. Reid and Babyface. L.A. is immediately impressed by T-Boz and Left Eye, but feels that Crystal should be dropped. Jones’ fate is sealed when she hesitates to sign the management contract. Crystal leaves TLC and is replaced by former Damian Dame background vocalist and dancer Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. Hitting it off immediately with T-Boz and Left Eye, Chilli is the perfect addition to the group and they quickly start work on their debut album. Though Thomas is nearly fired from TLC when Pebbles discovers that Chilli has become romantically involved with producer Dallas Austin. Refusing to let her go, T-Boz and Left Eye insist that Chilli is allowed to remain in the group. Completing the album by December of 1991, its unique hybrid of R&B, New Jack Swing, Pop and Hip Hop attitude combined with the trio’s strong and charismatic personas make them an immediate stand out. Led by “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” (#2 R&B, #6 Pop), the single and album are both instant hits. It spins off three more singles including “Baby-Baby-Baby” (#1 R&B, #2 Pop), “What About Your Friends” (#2 R&B, #7 Pop) and “Hat 2 Da Back” (#14 R&B, #30 Pop). Even with this huge out of the box success, things quickly turn sour between TLC and Pebbles while in the midst of promoting their debut. All in their early twenties at the time, the girls sign their contracts without having attorneys present, or reading them fully beforehand. To their great dismay, they discover that they have signed a deal in which they are not directly signed to LaFace, but to Pebbles’ production company. Besides managing them and making business decisions on their behalf, Pebbitone owns TLC’s song publishing and even their name, paying them a pittance in royalties which leaves them deeply in debt. T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli are eventually forced to file for bankruptcy in order to break ties with Pebbitone, sign with LaFace directly and organize their finances. “Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fourteen on the Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: February 23, 1999 – “FanMail”, the third album by TLC is released. Produced by Dallas Austin, L.A. Reid, Babyface, Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and TLC, it is recorded at D.A.R.P. Studios, and So So Def Studios in Atlanta, GA, Brandon Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Flyte Tyme Studios in Minneapolis, MN from April – September 1998. It is the first new album from the R&B vocal trio in nearly five years, during which time they go through personal bankruptcy and a split from manager/mentor Pebbles. It is a solid critical and commercial success upon its release, spinning off three singles including “No Scrubs” (#1 Pop and R&B) and “Unpretty” (#1 Pop, #4 R&B). The album also wins two Grammy Awards including Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group and Best R&B Album in 2000. The original CD release of the album features a lenticular hologram of the cover artwork that is issued in a limited edition run of the disc. The accompanying CD booklet also unfolds into a poster featuring another photo of TLC. “FanMail” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, three weeks (non-consecutive) on the R&B album chart, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: July 8, 1995 – “Waterfalls” by TLC hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Marqueze Etheridge, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Organized Noize, it is the second pop chart topper for the Atlanta, GA based R&B vocal trio. Written specifically for TLC, the production team Organized Noize base the song on both personal experiences, and those of people in their inner circle of friends and family. It also touches on timely topics such as the consequences of the drug trade and promiscuity. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ rap is inspired by her difficult upbringing and personal struggles. She pens the lyrics on the way to the studio, having been released from police custody after unintentionally burning down the mansion of her then boyfriend, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Andre Rison. The track also features background vocals by La’Face Records vocal mainstay Debra Killings and Cee-Lo Green, then a member of The Goodie Mob. Released as the third single from their second album “CrazySexyCool” on May 29, 1995, it becomes TLC’s biggest single. Entering the Hot 100 at #39 on June 10, 1995, it races to the top of the chart four weeks later. “Waterfalls” is supported by a memorable and cutting edge music video directed by F. Gary Gray (“Friday”, “The Italian Job”, “Straight Outta Compton”). At a cost of over $1,000,000, the clip is shot over two days on June 8th and 9th, 1995, on the back lot of Universal Studios, featuring actors Ella Joyce (“Rock”), Bokeem Woodbine (“Jason’s Lyric”, “The Rock”) and rapper Shyheim. The video wins four MTV VMA awards, including Video Of The Year, making TLC the first African Americans artists to win the award. The single receives Grammy Nominations for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Record Of The Year in 1996. “Waterfalls” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.