“Waterfalls” is a song by American recording group TLC. It was written by band member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes with Marqueze Etheridge and Organized Noize for TLC’s second album, CrazySexyCool (1994), featuring production by the latter. The song was released as the third single from the album on May 29, 1995 in the United States, followed by a United Kingdom release on August 5, 1995.
Often considered the group’s signature song, “Waterfalls” was an international hit, topping the charts in many different territories. The song spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, giving the group their second U.S. number one. The song was the number two song of the year on Billboard’s 1995 year-end chart. “Waterfalls” also peaked at number one in New Zealand, Switzerland, and Germany, while reaching the top ten in many other countries. “Waterfalls” received critical acclaim, earning two Grammy nominations at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards in 1996 for Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
The song tackled issues of the illegal drug trade, promiscuity and HIV/AIDS. Jarett E. Nolan of BMG noted that “Waterfalls” was the first number one song ever to reference AIDS in one of its verses. The accompanying music video for the song reflected its socially conscious lyrics. With a million-dollar budget, the video was an MTV staple credited for giving the single much of its success. It stayed atop the MTV Video Monitor chart for over a month, making TLC the first act to ever achieve this feat. The video won four MTV Video Music Awards in 1995, including top honors for Video of the Year. TLC was the first African American group or artist to ever receive the trophy.