They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
At the age of 20, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins became one-third of one of the most successful singing girl groups of all time: TLC. Throughout the ’90s, the R&B trio — T-Boz, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, and the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes — consistently dominated the charts with singles like “No Scrubs,” “Unpretty,” and “Waterfalls.”
While T-Boz’s musical activity waned in the early 2000s following Left Eye’s untimely death (ten years ago yesterday), she and the rest of TLC have left their mark on the R&B world and will forever be one of the best things to come from the ’90s. To celebrate T-Boz’s birthday and the band’s well-deserved success, we’ve compiled five covers of some of their greatest hits. Happy 42nd birthday, T-Boz!
MP3: Magicks — Red Light Special (TLC cover)
Released as the second single off TLC’s sophomore album CrazySexyCool, “Red Light Special” showcases T-Boz’s low, raspy voice, which helped set the girls apart from other R&B groups of the ’90s. Experimental group Magiks presents a cover that sounds pretty close to the original but with a more contemporary, chillwave twist.
MP3: Steve Poltz — Waterfalls (TLC cover)
Perhaps TLC’s best-known song, “Waterfalls” hit the airwaves in the midst of the girl group’s heyday in 1995. After spending seven consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and earning the girls a Grammy nomination, the song became TLC’s most successful single to date. California-based singer-songwriter Steve Poltz reworks the popular track into a funky pop-rock song.
MP3: You and Elsie — All That Theme Song (TLC cover)
If you weren’t aware that TLC was the band behind the theme song of the beloved ’90s TV show All That, then you’re probably not a fan of either the band or the show. The song ensured the band a special spot in the hearts of ’90s babies and, surprisingly, makes for one great cover, as demonstrated by indie pop rock group You and Elsie.
MP3: Kristen Korkowski — No Scrubs (TLC cover)
“No Scrubs” led the success of TLC’s third album FanMail with its release in January 1999. Its catchy chorus and message of female empowerment has made the song a fan favorite and one of the band’s signature tracks. While a song as well-known song as this is often hard to cover, Wisconsin-based indie folk artist Kristen Korkowski successfully remakes it in a unique acoustic performance.
MP3: Mixed Company — Unpretty (TLC cover)
“Unpretty,” another one of TLC’s girl power anthems, followed “No Scrubs” as FanMail‘s second single. The song’s positive message and widespread popularity earned it a nomination for Song of the Year at the 1999 Grammy Awards. Stanford’s talented singing group Mixed Company breathes new life into the feel-good track with a skillful, upbeat a cappella performance.
Check out more from T-Boz on her website.