By the Numbers: TLC's 'Waterfalls' Hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart 20 Years Ago
Stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to
“Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.”
After “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,” it may be the most important piece of ’90s music advice – and it has guided us for two decades now.
July 8 marks the 20th anniversary of TLC’s “Waterfalls” topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart. T-Boz, Chilli and Left Eye’s cautionary tale about the dangers of drugs, promiscuous sex and large metaphorical bodies of water became the R&B girl group’s most successful song, staying at No. 1 for seven weeks.
The group has gone through plenty of changes since 1995, including the death of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in 2002 and a Kickstarter-funded fifth album, but “Waterfalls” continues to hold as a powerful anthem for the time period, and a really fun song to sing in the shower.
To celebrate the infinite wisdom and continued popularity of “Waterfalls,” here’s the breakdown of all the numbers that went into this No. 1 hit by three crazy, sex, cool performers.
15,000,000: How many copies the group’s second studio album, CrazySexyCool, which features “Waterfalls,” sold worldwide.
1,000,000: The amount of money TLC was given to make the music video for “Waterfalls.”
50,000: The amount of money each member of TLC made from their diamond album CrazySexyCool. Even though the album was successful, the group’s strict contracts restricted them from making a profit. They filed for bankruptcy on July 5, 1995, as a result.
12: Number of “Waterfalls” covers that have been recorded – by popular artists including Bill Nye the Science Guy, Bette Midler, Eve 6 and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
4: The number of hit singles off of CrazySexyCool. This album also gave us “Creep,” “Red Light Special” and “Diggin’ on You,” along with “Waterfalls.”
4: Also the number of MTV Video Awards the music video won in 1995.
2: The number of Grammy nominations “Waterfalls” earned in 1996. The song was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. TLC’s “Creep” ended up winning the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
1: The number of guys named CeeLo Green singing on “Waterfalls.” Yes, the “Forget You” performer lent his pipes to the backup track.