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Happy Birthday, Left Eye!

Left Eye
Scott Gries, Getty Images

Today (May 27), we remember the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who would’ve been celebrating her 46th birthday. The unpredictable, creative “Crazy” element in TLC’s “CrazySexyCool” trifecta passed away in 2002. Alongside Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas, Left Eye’s persona helped define TLC as they stormed the charts throughout the 1990s.

Left Eye, who got her moniker for wearing a condom over (and later, an eye stripe under) her left eye, was a focal point of TLC’s image when it debuted with Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, in 1992. The album was a smash, going quadruple platinum and spawning hit singles like “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” and “What About Your Friends.”

As TLC became stars, Left Eye became notorious for controversies The most infamous of them was when she was convicted of arson for burning down her then-boyfriend Andre Rison’s mansion in 1994. The rapper was sentenced to five years probation and time in a halfway house, which led to her minimal presence on TLC’s sophomore album, CrazySexyCool, that same year. Nonetheless, she delivered a memorable verse on the album’s biggest hit “Waterfalls,” and CrazySexyCool became TLC’s most acclaimed effort and is the first LP by a girl group to go diamond.

Left Eye made a strong return on 1999s FanMail, which featured hits like “Silly Ho” and “No Scrubs,” FanMail‘s biggest song, which was lifted by that instantly memorable hook and another effervescent verse from Left Eye.  FanMail went on to go six times platinum.

Friction within the group during the recording and promoting FanMail led to Left Eye becoming estranged from her bandmates T-Boz and Chilli. After her 2001 solo debut was shelved in the U.S., Left Eye was tragically killed in a 2002 car crash in Honduras, leaving the industry and fans heartbroken. But she remains one of the most iconic stars of the 1990s and a sorely missed presence in popular music and culture.

Watch TLC’s “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” Video

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Watch TLC’s “Waterfalls” Video

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Watch Left Eye in Donell Jones’ “U Know What’s Up” Video

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Watch TLC’s “No Scrubs” Video

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