Spice Girls

  • British girl pop group formed in 1994, from London England. The group consisted of Melanie Brown (Scary Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) and Victoria Adams Beckham (Posh Spice).
  • In 1994, a UK based talent group wanted to form an all-girl group to compete with the many boy bands from that time. They placed an ad in a trade magazine, asking for singers to audition. Around 400 women auditioned – 12 were chosen for a second audition, and by April that year, 5 were chosen – Brown, Chisholm, Adams, Halliwell and Michelle Stephenson. Initially, they were given the name Touch, and they started practicing and making demos. Stephenson soon left the group to be with her sick mother, and she was replaced by Bunton. Halliwell suggested a change to the name of the group to Spice.
  • The women were frustrated with the talent group that assembled them. In December 1994, they performed in front of industry writers and producers, receiving a strong positive response. Their talent agency quickly presented them with a binding contract which they refused to sign. Instead, they turned to some of the insiders that they met during their performance, and ultimately they were signed by Simon Fuller (of American Idol fame) in March 1995. This led to a record contract in September that year. They changed the name of the group to Spice Girls, since a rap artist was already using the name “Spice.”
  • They worked on their debut album, Spice, for 9 months, co-writing the 10 songs on the album. Prior to its release, they released in Europe their first single, Wannabe, in July 1996. The video to the song was a sensation, and the song shot to #1 in 37 countries. At the time it became the best selling single of all time for an all-female group. The album was released in September in Europe and in February 1997 in the U.S. It went 7x platinum in the U.S., and sold 23 million copies worldwide. The press quickly referred to them as The Fab Five, and reports on “Spice Mania,” were comparable to Beatlemania. The other singles on the album also were huge successes – Say You’ll Be There and 2 Become 1 topped the UK chart, and reached #3 and #4 in the U.S.
  • In late 1997, Spice Girls released their second album, Spiceworld. It too was a smash, selling over 20 million copies worldwide. In the UK, the 4 singles hit #1 or #2 – Spice Up Your Life, Too Much, Stop and Viva Forever. The first 3 of these were top 20 songs in the U.S. A film featuring the women also was released. Called Spice World, it was a light comedy similar to The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, depicting a series of fictional events leading up to a concert.
  • The media began to criticise the group for their many sponsorship deals (over 20), and for over exposure. In November 1997, Spice Girls fired Fuller as their manager, deciding to run the group themselves. By the end of May 1998, Halliwell announced that she was leaving the group, due to “differences between us.” The 4 remaining members were determined to carry on, but Halliwell’s departure led to many issues. Later that year, they recorded and released a single, Goodbye, that was a tribute song to Halliwell, that became their 8th #1 song in the UK, and their last to chart in the top 40 in the U.S., peaking at #11.
  • They returned to the studio in August 1999 to begin recording their final album. By late 2000, Forever was finally released. It had an edgier R&B sound, less dance-pop compared to their previous records. It only reached #39 on the Billboard 200 Album chart, though it made it to #2 in the UK. Their single Goodbye was included on the album, and the other single that was released – Holler/Let Love Lead the Way was their final #1 in the UK, but it did not make the charts in the U.S. By December 2000, the band announced that they were taking a hiatus, focusing on solo efforts.
  • in 2007, Spice Girls announced that they were reforming. A Greatest Hits album was released that included a new single, Headlines (Friendship Never Ends), which had some success in Europe. Their tour in 2007 and 2008 was deemed successful, with revenues exceeding $200 million. They also reunited for the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
  • The Spice Girls were the biggest pop phenomenon of the 90s. The global music landscape prior to their rise to fame was dominated by R&B, hip hop and alternative rock. The Spice Girls brought about a change to teen pop, paving the way for artists like Hanson, Britney Spears and NSYNC. Here’s the video to their biggest hit, Wannabe. 

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