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Spice Girls

Spice Girls taking their bow at their final concert together in Toronto, Canada,
26 February 2008.
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Pop, dance-pop, teen pop
Years active 1994–2001, 2007-2008
Labels Virgin Records
Website Official website
Members
Victoria Beckham
Emma Bunton
Melanie Brown
Melanie Chisholm
Geri Halliwell

The Spice Girls were an English girl group formed in 1994. They consisted of Victoria Beckham (née Adams), Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, and Geri Halliwell. They are considered to be the most successful girl group of all time.

They were signed to Virgin Records and released their debut single, "Wannabe", in 1996. The song hit number-one in 31 countries and helped establish the group as a "global phenomenon". Credited in the US for being the pioneers that paved the way for the commercial breakthrough of teen pop in the 1990s, their first album, Spice, sold more than 23 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album by a female group in music history. They have sold 65 million records worldwide with only four albums and eleven singles, making them the most successful British band since The Beatles and the best selling girl group of all time. Measures of their success include international record sales, a 2007/2008 reunion tour, merchandising, record breaking achievements, iconic symbolism such as the Union Flag dress, "Girl Power", a box office hit movie Spice World and their nicknames.

Under the guidance of their long time mentor and manager Simon Fuller, the group embraced merchandising and became a regular feature of the British press. Each member of the group was given an alias by Top of the Pops magazine in 1996, which were adopted by the group and media alike. According to biographer David Sinclair, "Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh and Sporty were the most widely recognized group of individuals since John, Paul, George and Ringo."

They were the biggest cultural icons of the 1990s, according to a survey carried out by Trivial Pursuit, winning by 80 percent in a poll of 1,000 people carried out for the board game, stating that "Girl Power" defined the decade.

In June 1998, Geri Halliwell left the group in the middle of numerous rumours. The four remaining members released the third album, but went their separate ways in late 2000 to focus on their solo careers. On 28 June 2007 all five re-formed before the launch of their Reunion Tour in December, alongside the release of their Greatest Hits album. In December, a new official documentary Giving You Everything aired on various television networks around the globe.

Contents

Band history

Formation and early years (1994–1995)

In the mid-1990s, father-and-son management team Bob and Chris Herbert set about creating an all female group to compete with popular boy bands that dominated the pop music scene in the mid- to late-1990s: "The whole teen-band scene at the time was saturated by boy bands like Take That and the Backstreet Boys. That was all a bit of a yawn for me, and only appealed to female audiences...I felt if you could appeal to the boys as well, you'd be laughing."[1] In February 1994, Heart Management – which comprised the Herberts together with financier Chic Murphy – placed an advertisement in "The Stage" trade magazine asking "WANTED: R.U. 18–23 with the ability to sing/dance? R.U. streetwise, outgoing, ambitious and dedicated? Heart Management Ltd are a widely successful music industry management consortium currently forming a choreographed, singing/dancing, all-female pop act for a recording deal. Open audition. Danceworks, 16 Balderton Street. Friday 4 March. 11am-5:30pm. Please bring sheet music or backing cassette".[1] Hundreds of girls responded and the applicants were whittled down to a final five that included Victoria Adams, Lianne Morgan[2], Melanie Brown ,Michelle Stephenson and Suzanne Tinker but replaced at the last moment because of a bomb scare with Geri Halliwell.[1] The group was given the name Touch,[1] and moved into a house together in Maidenhead, Berkshire, (owned by Murphy) where they were subsidised by Heart Management and each was claiming unemployment benefit. However, Morgan was axed from the line-up because Heart Management thought she would be better suited to a solo career; she was replaced by Melanie Chisholm. During the first two months the group worked on demos and dance routines at the Trinity Studios in Knaphill. According to Stephenson the material the group was given was "very, very young pop" and included the song "We’re Gonna Make It Happen", a record that never came to light.[3] It soon became apparent that Stephenson did not have the drive and belief that the rest of the group had, so the decision was made to fire her from the group. Bob Herbert stated that "she just wasn't fitting in... she would never have gelled with it and I had to tell her to go".[4] However, Stephenson stated that it was her decision to leave the group, because of the illness of her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Victoria later dismissed this claim, saying she "just couldn't be arsed" to put in the work the rest of the group was doing.[5] The Herberts searched for a replacement and first came across Abigail Kis, who did not impress, and then were led to eighteen-year-old Emma Bunton at the suggestion of vocal coach Pepe Lemer. Bunton instantly impressed the Herberts and was invited to meet the group in July 1994, who welcomed her with open arms: "Straight away I knew she was the one", stated Halliwell.[5]

The group felt insecure about the lack of a contract and were frustrated by the direction in which Heart Management was steering them. In October 1994, armed with a catalogue of demos and dance routines, the group began touring management agencies. They persuaded Bob Herbert to set up a showcase performance for the group in front of industry writers, producers and A&R men in December 1994 at the Nomis Studios in Shepherds Bush where they received an "overwhelmingly positive" reaction.[6] Due to the large interest in the group, the Herberts quickly set about creating a binding contract for the group. Encouraged by the reaction they had received at the Nomis showcase, the five girls delayed signing contracts on the legal advice from, amongst others, Victoria's father Tony Adams. In March 1995, because of the group's frustration at their management's unwillingness to listen to their visions and ideas, they parted from Heart Management. In order to ensure they kept control of their own work, the group allegedly stole the master recordings of their discography from the management offices.[7] That same day the girls tracked down Sheffield-based producer Eliot Kennedy, who had been present at the showcase, and persuaded him to work with them. The group was introduced to record producers Absolute, who in turn brought them to the attention of Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment. The girls began a relationship with Fuller and finally signed with him in March 1995. During the summer of that year the group toured record labels in London and Los Angeles with Fuller and finally signed a deal with Virgin Records in September 1995. From this point up to the summer of 1996 the girls continued to write and record tracks for their debut album while extensively touring the west coast of the United States, where they had signed a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific.

Breakthrough (1996)

On 7 June 1996, the Spice Girls released their debut single "Wannabe" in the United Kingdom. In the weeks leading up to the release, the video for "Wannabe" (directed by Johan Camitz and shot in April at St Pancras Chambers in London), got a trial airing on The Box music channel. The video was an instant hit, and was played 502 times a week. After the video was released, the Spice Girls had their first live TV slot on broadcast on LWT's Surprise Surprise.[8]

The first music press interview appears in Music Week. In July 1996, the group conducted their first interview with Paul Gorman, the contributing editor of music industry paper Music Week, at Virgin Records' London headquarters. His piece recognized that the Spice Girls were about to institute a change in the charts away from Britpop and towards out-and-out pop. He wrote: "JUST WHEN BOYS with guitars threaten to rule pop life – Damon's all over Smash Hits, Ash are big in Big! and Liam can't move for tabloid frenzy – an all-girl, in-yer-face pop group have arrived with enough sass to burst that rockist bubble."[9] The song entered the charts at number 3 before moving up to number 1 the following week and staying there for seven weeks. The song proved to be a global hit, hitting number 1 in 31 countries and becoming not only the biggest selling debut single by an all-female group but also the biggest-selling single by an all-female group of all time.

Riding a wave of publicity and hype, the group released their next singles in UK and Europe; in October "Say You'll Be There" was released topping the charts at number one for two weeks. In December "2 Become 1" was released, becoming their first Christmas Number 1 and selling 430,000 copies in its first week which made it the fastest selling single of the year. The two tracks continued the group's remarkable sales by topping the charts in over fifty-three countries[10] and cementing the group's reputation as the biggest pop act in the world.

In November 1996, the Spice Girls released their debut album Spice in Europe. The success was unprecedented and drew comparisons to Beatlemania due to the sheer volume of interest in the group.[11] In seven weeks Spice had sold 1.8 million copies in Britain alone,[12] making the Spice Girls the fastest selling British act since the Beatles. In total, the album sold 3 million copies in Britain,[12] the biggest-selling album of all time in the UK by a female group[13] certified 10x Platinum.[12] and peaked at number one for fifteen non-consecutive weeks. In Europe the album became the biggest-selling album of 1997 and was certified 8x Platinum by the IFPI for sales in excess of 8 million copies.[14]

That same month the Spice Girls attracted a crowd of 500,000 when they switched on the Christmas lights in Oxford Street, London.[15] At the same time, Simon Fuller started to set up million pound sponsorship deals for the Spice Girls with Pepsi, Walkers, Impulse, Cadbury’s and Polaroid.[15] In December 1996, the group won three trophies at the Smash Hits awards at the London Arena, including best video for "Say You'll Be There".[15]

In January 1997, the group released "Wannabe" in the United States. The single also proved to be a catalyst in helping the Spice Girls break into the notoriously difficult U.S. market when it debuted on the Hot 100 Chart at number 11. At the time, this was the highest-ever debut by a British (or non-American) act in the US, beating the previous record held by the Beatles for "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and the joint highest entry for a debut act beating Alanis Morissette with "Ironic".[15] "Wannabe" reached number one in the US for four weeks. In February 1997, Spice was release in U.S., became the biggest-selling album of 1997, peaking at number one and being certified 7x Platinum by the RIAA[16] for sales in excess of 7.4 million copies.[17] The album is also included in the Top 100 Albums of All Time list of The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) based on US sales.[18] In total, the album sold 23 million copies worldwide becoming the biggest-selling album in the music history by a girl group.[19][20]

Later that month, the Spice Girls won two Brit Awards for Best Video, "Say You’ll Be There" and Best Single for "Wannabe",[15][19] The girls performed "Who Do You Think You Are" to open the show with Geri Halliwell wearing a Union Jack mini-dress, causing it to become one of pop history’s most famed outfits.[21]

In March 1997, a double A-side of "Mama"/"Who Do You Think You Are" was release in Europe, the last from Spice, which once again saw them at number one,[22] making the Spice Girls the first group in history to have four consecutive number one hits.[15] Girl Power!, The Spice Girls' first book and manifesto was launched later that same month at the Virgin Megastore. It sold 200,000 copies within a day, and was eventually translated into more than 20 languages. In April, Spice: the Official Video Volume One, was released, and sold half a million copies.[15] In May, Spice World was announced by the Spice Girls at the Cannes Film Festival. The group also performed their first live British show, for the Royalty of Great Britain. At the show, they breached royal protocol when Mel B and then Geri Halliwell planted kisses on Prince Charles' cheeks and pinched his bottom, causing controversy.[15]

At the Ivor Novello Awards, the group won International Hit of the Year and Best selling British Single awards for "Wannabe". In June 1997, Spice World began filming and wrapped in August. In September, the Spice Girls performed "Say You'll Be There" at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards and won Best Dance Video for "Wannabe". At the 1997 Billboard Music Awards the girls won two awards for New Artist and Album of the Year, for Spice.

Global Domination and Spicemania (1997–1998)

In October 1997, the Spice Girls released the first single from Spiceworld, "Spice Up Your Life". This entered in the UK charts at number one making it the girls' fifth consecutive number one hit single. That same month, Simon Fuller took the Spice Girls east to perform their first live major concert to 40,000 fans in Istanbul, Turkey. Later, the Girls traveled to South Africa to meet Nelson Mandela, who announced, "These are my heroes".[23] This was the year when the Spice Girls reached the height of their career.

In November 1997, the Spice Girls released their second album, Spiceworld. The album was a global best seller. It set a new record for the fastest-selling album when it shipped seven million copies over the course of two weeks. Gaining favourable reviews,[20] the album went on to sell over 10 million copies in Europe,[24] Canada,[25] and the United States[16] combined, and 20 million copies worldwide.[26] Criticised in the United-States for releasing the album just nine months after their debut there, and suffering from over-exposure at home, the Spice Girls began to experience a media backlash. The group was criticised for the number of sponsorship deals signed[27] – over twenty in total – and they began to witness diminishing international chart positions. Nevertheless, the Spice Girls remained the biggest-selling pop group of both 1997 and 1998.

On 7 November 1997, the girls performed "Spice Up Your Life" in the 1997 MTV Europe Music Awards and won awards for Best Group.[28] After this performance, the Spice Girls made the decision to take over the running of the group themselves, and fired their manager Simon Fuller. The firing was front page news around the world. Many commentators speculated that Fuller had been the true mastermind behind the group, and that this was the moment when the band lost their impetus and direction. According to their various autobiographies, it was mainly Geri and Melanie B who pushed for Fuller’s dismissal, claiming that he had become too controlling by restricting their personal and artistic freedom.[citation needed] The group quickly found the burden of managing themselves time consuming, so they assigned various responsibilities to each member of the group: Melanie B. was responsible for tour control; Geri for sponsorship; Emma Bunton for personnel, schedule, and charities; Victoria Adams for merchandising and finance; and Melanie C. for the record company, singles, and formats. They later built their own team, headed by Nancy Phillips, to deal with their affairs. Two of the Spice Girls, Emma Bunton and Victoria Adams, later returned to Fuller's stable once it was clear that the impetus behind the group was starting to disappear.

In December 1997, the second single from Spiceworld, "Too Much", was released. This became the second Christmas number one for the group and the sixth consecutive number one hit single in the UK. In February 1998, the Spice Girls won a special award for overseas success at the 1998 Brit Awards, for sales of 32 million albums worldwide,[29][30] That night, the girls performed their next single, "Stop". This was their only track not to hit number one in Britain (it entered and peaked at number two). Further singles released from the album included "Viva Forever", was scheduled to be released as a double A-side with "Never Give Up on the Good Times", but these plans were scrapped due to Halliwell's departure from the group in May 1998. The song became the seventh number one, and the video includes scenes of Halliwell stop motion animation.

In early 1998 the Spice Girls embarked upon the world tour that Fuller had set up for them covering Europe and North America. The Spiceworld Tour kicked off in Dublin, Ireland on 24 February 1998 before moving on to mainland Europe and then returning to Britain for two gigs at Wembley Arena [31] and Twelve gigs at Birmingham’s NEC Arena. Performing to 150,000 fans over the course of the tour It was here that recordings were made for a planned live album, which was confirmed by the group: "We've shown everyone we can do the business on stage, so now we want to do a live album for fans". Despite masters of the recording being made, the idea was eventually dropped. Later that year, the Spice Girls were invited to sing on the official England World Cup song "How Does It Feel (To Be on Top of the World)". This was their last song recorded with Geri's vocals, until 2007.

Halliwell's departure (1998)

On 31 May 1998, Halliwell announced her departure from the Spice Girls. Through her solicitor she stated: "Sadly I would like to confirm that I have left the Spice Girls. This is because of differences between us. I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best."[32] Halliwell claimed that she was suffering from exhaustion and wanted to take a break. Halliwell's departure from the group shocked fans and became one of the biggest entertainment news stories of the year,[33] making news headlines the world over. Geri went on to launch an initially successful solo career.

The four remaining girls were adamant though that the group would carry on and that their approaching North American tour would continue as normal; however, Halliwell's departure threw most of the group's plans into disarray. It was cited as the reason the planned live album was cancelled. It also meant that most of the material the girls had recorded throughout the first half of 1998 at Dublin's Windmill Lane Studios with long-time collaborators Richard Stannard and Matt Rowe was eventually scrapped. A rumoured animated venture by Disney also failed to materialise.

"Viva Forever" was the last single taken off Spiceworld. The video for the single was made before Geri's departure and features the girls in animated form – a decision made because there was no time to produce a video due to the heavy world tour schedule. Originally planned as a double A-side with "Never Give Up on the Good Times", the idea was dropped for several reasons, mainly due to time restraints (since there was no time to re-record and edit out Halliwell's vocals or make a video for the track).

While on tour in the United-States, the group continued to record new material and they released a new song, "Goodbye", before Christmas in 1998. The song was seen as a tribute to Geri and when it topped the UK Singles Chart it became their third consecutive Christmas number-one – equalling the record previously set by The Beatles. The song also became one of the most successful songs of the 1990s in Canada, where it stayed at number one for sixteen weeks. Later, Emma Bunton and Mel C appeared at the 1998 MTV Europe Music Awards, and the group won two awards: "Best Pop Act" and "Best Group" for a second time.[34]

New sound and beginnings (1999–2001)

The Spice Girls returned to the studio in August 1999, after an 8 month recording break to start work on their third album. The album's sound took a mature direction when American producers like Rodney Jerkins, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis came on to collaborate with the group. In December 1999 they performed live for a UK-only tour, named Christmas in Spiceworld, in London and Manchester, also showcasing new songs from the third album.

The Spice Girls performed again at the 2000 BRIT Awards, and it was announced that they had received the Outstanding Achievement in Music Award. Despite being at the event, Halliwell did not join her former bandmates on stage.

In November 2000 the group released Forever. Sporting a new edgier R&B sound, the album received a lukewarm response[35] and achieved only a fraction of the success of its two best-selling predecessors, selling three million copies. In an attempt to cover more ground, the girls split up and covered different countries separately; for example Victoria Beckham and Emma Bunton headed to North America while Melanie B and Melanie C concentrated on Europe. In the US, the album peaked at number thirty-nine on the Billboard 200 albums chart. In the UK, the album was released the same week as Westlife's 'Coast to Coast' album and the chart battle was widely reported by the media, where Westlife won the battle reaching number one in the UK, leaving the Spice Girls at number 2. The lead single from Forever, the double A-side "Holler"/"Let Love Lead the Way", did enjoy some success – it became the group's ninth number one single in the UK. However the song failed to break onto the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart stateside, instead peaking at number seven on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. "Holler" did peak at number thirty-one on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 2001.

The only major performance of the lead single came at the MTV Europe Music Awards in November 2000 and, a few TV performances aside, the group did little meaningful promotion: their last performance was in December 2000. Further planned single releases off the album never materialised. Promo singles of "Tell Me Why", "Weekend Love", and "If You Wanna Have Some Fun" came into circulation, but to fans' dismay the Forever project was abandoned as the girls each began to concentrate on solo careers.

In 2001, the group announced that they were beginning an indefinite hiatus and would be concentrating on their solo careers in regards to their foreseeable future, although they pointed out that the group was not splitting.

Return of the Spice Girls (2007–2008)

On 28 June 2007, the group held a press conference at The O2 in London, formally announcing their intention to reunite.[36] The plan to reform had long been speculated by the media,[37] but the group finally confirmed their intention to embark upon a world wide concert tour, starting in Vancouver on 2 December 2007.[38] Filmmaker Bob Smeaton, directed an official documentary on the reunion. It was entitled Spice Girls: Giving You Everything and was first aired on Australia's Fox8 on 16 December 2007,[39] followed by BBC One in the UK, on 31 December.[40]

The Return of the Spice Girls tour in London, United Kingdom.

Ticket sales for the first London date of "The Return of the Spice Girls" World Tour sold out in 38 seconds.[41] It was reported that over one million people signed up in the UK alone and over five million worldwide for the ticket ballot on the band's official website.[41] Sixteen additional dates in London had been added[42] and sold out. In the United States, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Jose shows also sold out, prompting additional dates to be added.[43] It was announced that the Spice Girls would be playing dates in Chicago and Detroit (Auburn Hills) and Boston, as well as additional dates in New York to keep up with the demand. On the first concert in Canada, they performed to an audience of 15,000 people, singing twenty songs and changing a total of eight times.[44]

Along with the tour sellout, the Spice Girls licensed their name and image to Tesco's UK supermarket chain.[45] The band have reportedly been paid £5 million for their appearances in Tesco advertisements.[46]

The group's comeback single, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)", was announced as the official Children in Need charity single for 2007 and was released 5 November. The first public appearance on stage by the Spice Girls was made at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, where the group performed at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. They performed two songs, 1998 single "Stop" and the lead single off their greatest hits album, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)". The show was filmed by CBS on 15 November 2007 for broadcast on 4 December 2007.[47] They also performed the song live for the BBC Children in Need telethon on 16 November 2007 from Los Angeles,[48] in Roberto Cavalli gowns.[48] The release peaked at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the groups lowest charting British single to date. However, the album fared better, peaking at number two on the UK Albums Chart behind Leona Lewis' record breaking debut album Spirit.[49] Australia was the only country for the album to debut and reach number 1.[50] This is the first Spice Girls album to reach #1 in Australia. To date, their Greatest Hits album has been declared platinum in Australia and the UK[12], and gold in the United States, Canada, Brazil and New Zealand.

On 22 December 2007, the Spice Girls pre-recorded a performance of "2 Become 1" on the finale of Strictly Come Dancing.[51]

On 1 February 2008, it was announced that due to personal and family commitments their tour would come to an end in Toronto on 26 February 2008, meaning that tour dates in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Cape Town and Buenos Aires were cancelled.[52]

In March 2008, the group won the coveted "Icon Awards" at the 95.8 Capital Awards; Emma Bunton and Melanie C collected the award. In June, they captured the Glamour Award for the Best Band; Bunton, Melanie B and Halliwell received the award at the event. In September, the Spice Girls won the "Best Live Return Award" at the 2008 Live Vodafone Music Awards, beating acts such as Led Zeppelin and the Sex Pistols. Bunton was there to collect the award. In November 2008, Billboard announced the Spice Girls as the winners in the "Top Boxscore" category of the Billboard Touring Awards, for their 17 show stint at the O2 Arena in London.[53]

Second reunion rumours (2009/2010)

In September 2009, rumours emerged of a second Spice Girls reunion after Brown, Chisholm, Halliwell and Bunton were photographed having a meal together in London.[54][55] Victoria Beckham was absent from the night due to her work schedule. Brown then mused about the possibilities of another tour on her Twitter.[56]

Halliwell was then quoted during a television interview saying; “We always talk about creative plans and possibilities, definitely... And yes [we did talk about that last week]. Right now, we are gathering information and thinking about possibilities... but when you're evolving a plan you don't share it to the world until it's concrete...If they do cement themselves, I'll be the first to tell you." watch video [57]

Brown then responded to questions regarding another reunion via her official message board, saying; "I would love to tell you. But until all 5 of us have finalised everything, out of respect for each other and the Spice brand, mum's the word for now. All 5 of us are in discussions right now, I’ll let you know what we decide on once all 5 of us agree. But it is all very exciting!" [58]

Bunton then told readers of Now Magazine that they had been discussing work-related subjects and that she's "...sure all five of us will be catching up again soon. Watch this space!" [59] Bunton also stated later that the Spice Girls would not be reuniting for the world cup.

In mid-October, Melanie C denied on GMTV all rumours about a possible reunion with Spice Girls, explaining that it is not feasible to have a comeback at the moment. watch video[60]

In the same month, reports [61] suggest that the Spice Girls are to star in a reality show in which they’ll cast actresses to play them in a musical, although Melanie B denied this rumour but stated all 5 girls are indeed signed on for and planning 'something exciting'.[62] During that time, Melanie B admited in a Colombian interview that she is planning to get together the girls for a Reality Show, looking for a girl group inspired in the Spice Girls.

On 1 November 2009, Simon Fuller supposedly suggested that the Spice Girls would get together to perform at the 2012 Summer Olympics and kick-off their second reunion tour, [63] though this has not been verified by any of the girls.

On 18 January 2010, it was announced that the girls were nominated for a Brit Award in the new category, "Best Performance of the 30th Year." They are nominated for their iconic performance of the singles, "Wannabe" and "Who Do You Think You Are."

Because of the nomination the Spice Girls management updated the Spice Girls official website asking people to vote. A mass email was also sent out on the same day the website was updated. This is the first time in nearly two years that the website has been updated.

On 16 February 2010 the band received the BRIT Awards for "Most Memorable Performance of 30 Years".

Viva Forever: The Musical (2010–2013)

Judy Craymer has teamed up with the Spice Girls and Simon Fuller to start developing a Spice Girls musical entitled "Viva Forever". Although the girls will not be in the show, they will influence the show's cast and production choices in a story which uses their music but bears no relation to their personal story; similar to that of ABBA's music in Mamma Mia!.[64][65]

Solo careers

Each member of the Spice Girls had developed their own solo career since the height of Spicemania.

Melanie Brown

Brown's first album Hot was released in October 2000. She had four UK top 20 singles, including two top 10 and her #1 hit, "I Want You Back" featuring Missy Elliott.[66] After the release of her last single, "Today", and her last album, L.A. State of Mind, which both failed to make an impact,[67][68] Brown became more successful in television and stage musical activities. In total, she sold over 500,000 records as a solo artist. Now, Mel splits work between the US and UK where she is known for her athletic appearance and fitness.

Geri Halliwell

From her departure in 1998, Geri Halliwell became a successful music artist internationally. In fact, her debut album, Schizophonic, sold twice as much as Forever in UK. The album produced one number 2 and three number 1 singles in UK. Following the release of her debut album, she released 2 more successful albums and 5 more singles before concentrating on to become a children's author. In total, she sold more than 12 million records worldwide as a solo artist.[69][70]. In 2008 Halliwell published a book series named Ugenia Lavender.[71]

Melanie Chisholm

Chisholm took her first steps in establishing a solo career in late 1998 by singing with Canadian rocker Bryan Adams on the song "When You're Gone". Her debut album, Northern Star was released in 1999, became more successful than Schizophonic and Forever in UK, where it was certified 3× Platinum,[12] and certified 2× Platinum for selling more than 2 million copies in Europe alone.[72] The album produced two #1 singles, "Never Be the Same Again" featuring Lisa Lopes and "I Turn To You". After the release of three more albums, Chisholm temporarily stopped recording and concentrated on motherhood.[73] So far, Chisholm sold close to 10 million records worldwide[74].

Chisholm holds the position for most United Kingdom number-ones by a female co-writer[75]. She is also third after Lennon and McCartney for the most UK number-one singles by a British co-writer and is the only female to reach the UK number-one as part of a quintet, quartet, duo and as a solo artist.[76]

Emma Bunton

Bunton released her first solo single in 1999, "What I Am".[77] The song, a cover, was in collaboration with the English duo Tin Tin Out. After strong competition from fellow Spice girl Halliwell, it reached #2 in the UK with Halliwell's "Lift Me Up" peaking at #1.[78] In 2001, she released her debut album, A Girl Like Me, certified Gold in UK.[12] The album spawned three top 5 singles including her number one single, "What Took You So Long". In 2003, Bunton's second album, Free Me was released in UK, and also was certified Gold.[12] The second album became more successful than her debut album. After the release of her last album, Life In Mono (#65), and her last single, "All I Need To Know" (#60), which both failed to break into top 40 let alone 20 or 10, she temporarily taking a break on music industry and focused on acting in television and films. In total, Bunton sold more than 2 million records worldwide. Bunton is now a popular radio deejay in the UK[79] and a leading judge on the hit show Dancing On Ice.

Victoria Beckham

On August 2000, Victoria Beckham released her first solo single, Out of Your Mind, in collaboration with Dane Bowers and Truesteppers. The single debuted at number 2 in UK Single Charts. On 1 October 2001, Victoria released her self-titled album which only peaked at number 10.[80] After the release of her debut album, Beckham cancelled all plans on her singing career and only focused on fashion where she became more successful.[81] She is currently the only Spice never to have had a British solo number 1, though she is also the only Spice to have all her released albums and singles peak in the 10. In total, Victoria sold more than 650,000 in UK alone with only an album and 4 singles, surpassing her former bandmate Melanie Brown (2 albums and 5 singles).

Cultural impact

British music scene

After being shut out by the Britpop revolution that occurred in the early 1990s when bands like Oasis, Pulp and Blur dominated the charts, pop music found a voice again. The image of the Spice Girls was deliberately aimed at young girls, an audience of formidable size and potential; reinforcing the range of appeal within the target demographic were the bandmates' five distinctive personalities, which encouraged fans to identify with one member or another. This marketing was helped in no small way by the aliases assigned to each member of the group, similar to the marketing ploy used in children's serial literature of including several different character types in the storyline. Shortly after "Wannabe"'s release, the group appeared in Top of the Pops magazine where each member was given a nickname based upon her image: Beckham became "Posh Spice", Bunton became "Baby Spice", Brown was named "Scary Spice", Halliwell was named "Ginger Spice", and Chisholm became "Sporty Spice".[82]

"Girl Power"

The "Girl Power" has put a name to a social phenomenon,[83] but the slogan was met with mixed reactions. The phrase was a label for the particular facet of feminist empowerment embraced by the band: that a sensual, feminine appearance and equality between the sexes need not be mutually exclusive. This concept was by no means original in the pop world; both Madonna and Bananarama had employed similar outlooks, and the phrase was most likely first coined by Welsh indie band Helen Love in 1993 and was the title of an album by British pop duo Shampoo in 1995. However, the Spice Girls' version was distinctive. Its message of empowerment appealed to young girls, adolescents and adult women,[83] and it emphasized the importance of strong and loyal friendship among females.

In all, the focused, consistent presentation of "girl power" formed the centrepiece of their appeal as a band.[83] Some critics dismissed it as no more than a shallow marketing tactic, while others took issue with the emphasis on physical appearance, concerned about the potential impact on self-conscious and/or impressionable youngsters. Regardless, the phrase became a cultural phenomenon,[83] adopted as the mantra for millions of girls[83] and even making it into the Oxford English Dictionary.[84] In summation of the concept, author Ryan Dawson said, "The Spice Girls changed British culture enough for Girl Power to now seem completely unremarkable."[85]

"Cool Britannia"

The term "Cool Britannia" became prominent in the media and represented the new political and social climate that was emerging with the advances made by New Labour and Tony Blair. Coming out of a period of 18 years of Conservative government, Tony Blair and New Labour were seen as young, cool and very appealing, a main driving force in making Britain look fashionable again. Although by no means responsible for the onset of "Cool Britannia", the arrival of the Spice Girls added to the new image and re-branding of Britain, and underlined the growing world popularity of British, rather than U.S., pop music. This fact was underlined at the BRIT Awards in 1997. The group won two awards[86] but it was Halliwell's Union Jack dress that appeared in media coverage over the world and eventually became a symbol of "Cool Britannia".

'90s iconic status

The Union Jack dress Halliwell wore has acquired an iconic status, becoming one of the most prominent symbols of 90's pop culture. The dress was sold at a charity auction to Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas for a record £41,320, giving Halliwell the Guinness World Record for the most expensive piece of pop star clothing ever sold[87] after interest from a frenzy of bidders.[88] The dress was one of many items of Spice Girls memorabilia sold at the auction, where total sales reached £146,511 for charity.[88]

The iconic symbolism of the Spice Girls in the '90s is also attributed to their merchandising and willingness to be a part of a media-driven world. They advertised for many brands and even parodied themselves in the video for the song "Spice Up Your Life", in which the band fly in a space ship surrounded by billboards and adverts featuring them. Because of their regular appearances in ads and the media, the band solidified themselves as a phenomenon — an icon of the decade and for British music. The Spice Girls ranked No. 10 in The 101 Reasons the '90s Ruled, special for TV channel E!.[89]

The Spice Girls are revered as gay icons, especially in the UK. In a survey in which more than 5,000 gays and lesbians from the UK voted, Victoria Beckham placed 12th and Geri Halliwell placed 43rd in the Top 50 gay icons of all time.[90] Halliwell joked at the Video Music Awards in 1998 about her appearance as Ginger Spice: "As you have noted, I am no longer dressed like a drag queen."[91] During an interview, Emma Bunton explained why the Spice Girls have so many gay fans: "We were really flattered with having such a huge gay fan base because they know about fashion and they know about songs ... I'm so flattered that we've got such a huge gay following, it's amazing."[92]

Ten years after the release of their debut single, the Spice Girls were voted the biggest cultural icons of the 1990s by 80 percent in a UK poll of 1,000 people carried out for the board game "Trivial Pursuit", stating that "Girl Power" defined the decade.[93]

Fashion trends and nicknames

As the girls become more popular, their images became as important as their music. In their early days of the band, the girls had a laid back and casual look, and maintained an image of everyday British young females. As their career progressed into a worldwide phenomenon, the girls and their manager Simon Fuller became more aware of the impact their images had. The Spice Girls soon became noticeable just by their clothes and hairstyles, and soon became icons of late 1990s fashion. In a summer 1996 issue of Top of the Pops, the girls were given nicknames for their images and personalities, and this soon had an impact on their fashion. In contrast to their early career, the girls soon began to differ their images from each other, and each girl had a unique look.

  • Victoria Beckham (then Victoria Adams)/Posh Spice (March 1994 – February 2001 and June 2007 – February 2008). Victoria was called Posh Spice because of her more upper-class background, refined attitude, form-fitting designer outfits and her love of high-heeled footwear.
  • Melanie Brown/Scary Spice (March 1994 – February 2001 & June 2007 – February 2008). Melanie was given the nickname Scary Spice because of her outrageous, "in-your-face" attitude, "loud" Leeds accent, throaty laugh, pierced tongue, manner of dress (which often consisted of leopard-print outfits), and her voluminously curly hair.
  • Emma Bunton/Baby Spice (October 1994 – February 2001 and June 2007 – February 2008). Emma was called Baby Spice because she was the youngest of the group, wore her long blonde hair in pigtails, wore babydoll dresses, had an innocent smile, and had a girly girl personality.
  • Melanie Chisholm/Sporty Spice (March 1994 – February 2001 and June 2007 – February 2008). Melanie called Sporty because Melanie usually wore a tracksuit with her hair in a ponytail and sported a tough girl attitude. She also possessed true athletic abilities, her signature being her ability to perform back handsprings.
  • Geri Halliwell/Ginger Spice (March 1994 – May 1998 and June 2007 – February 2008). Geri was called Ginger Spice because of her "liveliness, zest, and flaming red hair." She often wore outrageous stage outfits. Geri was seen by many as de facto leader of the group thanks to her articulate conversational style and business savvy nature.

Portrayal in the Media

The Spice Girls became media icons in Britain and a regular feature of the British press;[94] during the peak of her worldwide fame in 1997, the paparazzi were following them everywhere,[95] to obtain stories and gossip about the group, as a supposed affair between "Baby Spice" Emma Bunton and manager Simon Fuller,[95][96] or constant split rumors[96] which became fodder for numerous tabloids.[94] Rumors of in-fighting and conflicts within the group also have hit the headlines, specially between Geri Halliwell and Mel B; the rumours suggested that they were fighting to be the leader of the group.[97] Mel B, who later admits that she used to be a "bitch" with Geri, said the problems had stayed in the past.[98] The rumors reached their height, when the Spice Girls dismissed their manager Simon Fuller during the power struggles, with Fuller reportedly receiving a 10 million pound severance check to keep quiet about the details of his sacking.[99] Months later Halliwell would leave the band, in the middle of rumors of fight with Mel B, and became the biggest entertainment news stories of the year.[33]

In February 1997 in the Brit Awards Geri's Union Jack dress from Spice Girls live performance created phenomenal attention and subsequently made all the front pages the next day.[100] During the ceremony, Geri's breasts were exposed twice causing controversy.[15] This would not be the only such exhibition published of Geri, because during the year the release of nude photos of Halliwell that she posed for earlier in her career[94] caused some scandal.[95] According to the documentary Giving You Everything, the rest of the Spices confessed that they knew about the photos before they were famous, but when the photos were published they created problems and friction inside the group during these years, but the issue never went away.[101]

The stories of their encounters with other celebrities also became fodder for the press;[94] for example, in May 1997, in The Prince's Trust 21st anniversary concert, Mel B and Geri Halliwell breached royal protocol when they planted kisses on Prince Charles's cheeks, leaving it covered with lipstick, and later, Ginger Spice told him "you're very sexy" and also pinched his bottom.[102] In November, the British Royal Family were considered fans of the Spice Girls, including The Prince of Wales and his son Prince Henry of Wales.[103][104] That month, South African President Nelson Mandela said: "These are my heroes. This is one of the greatest moments in my life"[105] in an encounter organized by Prince Charles, who said, "It is the second greatest moment in my life, the first time I met them was the greatest".[105]

Victoria Adams started dating football player David Beckham in 1997 after they had met at a charity football match, prompting him to request a meeting with her.[106] The couple announced their engagement in 1998[107] and were dubbed "Posh and Becks" by the media,[108] After marriage, they have been called the celebrity couple of the decade and are Britain's biggest power-couple, attracting much media coverage in the following years.

Other Brand Ventures

The promotional poster for the film Spiceworld.

Film

In June 1997, the group began filming their movie debut with director Bob Spiers. Meant to accompany the album, the comical style and content of the movie was in the same vein as The Beatles' films in the 1960s such as A Hard Day's Night. The light-hearted comedy, intended to capture the spirit of the Spice Girls, featured a plethora of stars including Roger Moore, Hugh Laurie, Elton John, Richard O'Brien, Jennifer Saunders, Richard E. Grant, Elvis Costello, and Meat Loaf. Released in December 1997, Spiceworld: The Movie proved to be a hit at the box office breaking the record for the highest-ever weekend debut for Super Bowl Weekend (25 January 1998) in the US, with box office sales of $10,527,222. This record has since been beaten by The Butterfly Effect in 2004.[109] The movie took in total $77 million dollars at the box office worldwide,[97][110] $100 million combining cinema tickets and DVD Sales,[10] including $30 million in America and £11 million in Britain. Despite being a commercial success, the film was widely panned by critics; the movie was nominated for seven awards at the 1999 Golden Raspberry Awards where they "won" the award for "Worst Actress".[111]

Television

The first television special for Spice Girls was a film diary of their experiences from 1996–1997, called One Hour of Girl Power.[112] Later, Girl Talk was released. It was a television special where the Spice Girls spoke individually about themselves and the group.[113] In April 1997, The Spice Girls appeared on the popular American television show Saturday Night Live,[114] singing "Wannabe" and "Say You'll Be There".[115] In November 1997, An Audience With The Spice Girls was screened for British channel ITV.[116] The show attracted 11.8 million viewers in UK, one fifth of the population.[15] In December 1997 was the release of the first US television documentary Too Much Is Never Enough, focusing on their reaction to their sudden rise to fame around the world.[117] In January 1998, The Spice Girls appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, singing two songs, followed by an interview with Oprah.

In 1999 the TV special, The Spice Girls in America: A Tour Story was aired. This followed the Spice Girls' exploits and adventures in America, focusing on their tour of the USA,[118] and when Geri Halliwell left the Spice Girls. In 2003 the television series on VH1 Behind the Music devoted a chapter to tell the story of the Spice Girls,[119] as well as E! True Hollywood Story, the TV documentary series on the E! Entertainment Television cable.

The first public appearance on stage by the Spice Girls Reunion was made at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, where the group performed at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. They performed two songs, 1998 single "Stop" and the lead single off their greatest hits album, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)". The show was filmed by CBS on 15 November 2007 for broadcast on 4 December 2007,[47] the show attracts averaged 7.4 million total viewers.[120]

In December 2007, the official documentary, Spice Girls: Giving You Everything that made its world première in Australia on FOX8, It later aired in Canada on 19 December 2007 (on the CTV), and on the BBC in the United Kingdom on 31 December 2007. The film features narrative insight and commentary from the five girls themselves. The title of the documentary comes from chorus lyrics from their UK #1 single "Say You'll Be There". The episode attracted 3.6 million viewers in the UK.[121]

Musical

In mid-October, Now Magazine reported that the girls, lead by Geri, are set to produce a West End musical that will highlight their "rags-to-riches" story. [122]

Late November reports indicate that a name for the musical has been chosen; "Viva Forever," after the Girls' 1998 number one hit. The show will feature 14 songs from the Spice Girls' catalog and is slated to open in the West End on 5 November 2010. Kim Fuller, brother of Simon Fuller, the manager of the Spice Girls, is said to have written the book for the musical. Fuller also penned the 1997 feature length film, Spiceworld. [123]

Merchandise and sponsorship deals

Spiceworld video game for Playstation.

1997 saw the Spice Girls capitalizing on their fame through a multi-million dollar phenomenon of merchandise, with over twenty in total official products, including Chupa Chups, Walkers Crisps, Cadbury Chocolate, Polaroid, Impulse Deodorant, Aprilia Scooters, Domino Sugar, Spice Girls Dolls, a PlayStation video game, Channel Five (UK), and signed contract with Pepsi earned the group over £5 million (US$10 million).[124] The Spice Girls brand had produced over £300 million pounds worldwide through merchandise in 1997.[125] Globally, the group's total grosses are estimated to have been $500–800 millions of dollars between 1996 and 1998.[97]

At the height of the 90's Spicemania there were many official and unofficial products produced by numerous manufacturers, including clothes, stickers, postcards, pens, bags, shoes, watches, caps, cosmetics, toys, food products, mugs, backpacks, magazines, books, videos, etc.[126]

The group was criticized by the press for selling out to worldwide brands in the Summer of 1997, being accused of overexposure and of signing too many sponsorship deals with big businesses.[27] The Spice Girls launched the video of Spice Up Your Life where they parody the number of sponsorship deals signed, in reaction to the press who criticized the group.

  • Cadbury Chocolate: Several chocolate bars, assorted boxes and holiday confectioneries featuring the girls individually or as a group were produced.
  • Chupa Chups: Different tins filled with assorted lollipops featuring a different girl were among the many products released, but the most widely produced was the "Fantasy Ball" Chupa Chups with six different packages each featuring a collectible sticker. Pushpops, Crazy Dip, and toy microphones were produced.
  • Walkers Crisps: In this promotion, over 51 different packaging designs created, with 10 for each member, plus a group package. The girls starred in two television adverts for the products.
  • Pepsi Cola: In early 1997, the Spice Girls signed a multimillion sponsorship deal with Pepsi, and earned over £5 million (US$10 million) for the group.[124] The girls were featured on several cans and bottles of Pepsi throughout Europe. Promotional giveaways included collectible drinking glasses and a music single, "Step to Me". The girls starred in three television adverts for Pepsi all featuring the song "Move Over (Generation Next)".
  • Spice Girls Dolls: Were released by Galoob Toys in 1997, became a huge hit during the Christmas season going on to become best-selling dolls.[127]
  • Polaroid: A regular Polaroid instant camera with a pink-and-purple shell and Spice Girl badging was produced along with a Spice Girls branded disposable Polaroid camera and flashlight. Each of the girls filmed a television advert promoting new types of Polaroid film (i.e. black & white, writable, etc.), in addition to making a group advert.
  • Impulse: The girls launched a fragrance known as "Impulse Spice", Deodorant and shower gel products were produced. One television advertisement was made for the product.
  • PlayStation: "SpiceWorld", a video game featuring computer-animated cartoons of the girls was developed in 1998.
  • Aprilia Scooters: 5 different scooters, each promoting a Spice Girl, were created and marketed as the "Spice Sonic Effect"
  • ASDA Supermarkets: British supermarket chain ASDA, created over 40 different Spice Items for Christmas 1997 developing goods such as party supplies, official merchandise, and even Spice Girl branded kids meals in the stores' restaurants. Signed contract with ASDA for earned over £1 millions (US$2 million)[128]
  • Tesco Supermarkets: A two-part television ad campaign celebrating Christmas with the Spice Girls aired in 2007, been paid £5 million (US$10 million).[46]
  • Channel Five (UK): The girls appeared in promotional print ads, recorded a song (1,2,3,4,5!), filmed a music video and launched Britain's fifth terrestrial television network in 1997.
  • Domino Sugar: The Girls promoted the sugar with a sponsor of their North American tour, with clips being played before shows and during intermission on video screens.
  • Target Stores: The American discount retailer was one of the largest suppliers of official Spice Girls merchandise in the United States and Australia, usually devoting an aisle to products such as bikes, school supplies, party supplies, and toys.

Career records and achievements

  • Total record sales in the region of 80 million. As of February 2008, the Spice Girls had certified sales of over 40 million albums and 30 million singles:[129]
  • Certified sales of 16 million albums in Europe,[14] 14 million records in the US[16] and 2.4 million in Canada.[25]
  • Total of nine number one singles in the UK – tied with ABBA behind Take That (Eleven), The Shadows (twelve), Madonna (thirteen), Westlife (fourteen), Cliff Richard (fourteen), The Beatles (seventeen) and Elvis Presley (twenty-one).
  • Three consecutive Christmas number one singles in the UK for: ("2 Become 1", 1996; "Too Much", 1997; "Goodbye", 1998)[130]
  • "Wannabe" is the most successful song released by an all female group. Sales are in the region of 6 million copies.[131]
  • Spice is the 18th biggest-selling album of all time in the UK with over 3 million copies sold, topped the charts for 15 weeks (non-consecutive) the most by a female group in the UK[132]
  • Spice is the biggest-selling album of the all time by a girl group with sales of 23 million copies worldwide.[15][19][20]
  • First act (only female act) to have their first six singles ("Wannabe", "Say You'll Be There", "2 Become 1", "Mama/Who Do You Think You Are", "Spice Up Your Life" and "Too Much") make number one on the UK charts. (Their run was broken by "Stop", which peaked at number two in March 1998.)
  • "Wannabe" debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart at number 11, the highest-ever debut by a British band in the US, beating the previous record held by The Beatles for "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and the joint highest entry for a debut act beating Alanis Morissette.[15]
  • Highest international debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at number five with "Say You'll Be There", (This record still holds to date.)
  • The first British band since the Beatles to have two albums in the US Chart Top Ten at the same time, Spice and Spiceworld.[15]
  • Geri Halliwell's Union Jack Dress that she wore for the Spice Girls' 1997 BRIT Awards performance, was sold for £36,000 ($66,112) at Sotheby's, London, England on Sept. 16, 1998. It was bought by Peter Morton, the owner of the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. It is still to date the "Most Valuable Popstar Clothing" ever worn.[133]
  • The Spice Girls achieved the highest ever annual earnings by an all female group in 1998 with an income of £49 million (approximately US$100 million).[134]
  • "Spiceworld" shipped 7 million copies in just two weeks, including 1.4 million in Britain alone – the largest-ever shipment of an album over 14 days.[135]
  • Spiceworld: The Movie broke the record for the highest-ever weekend debut for Super Bowl Weekend (25 January 1998) in the US, with box office sales of $10,527,222. This record has since been beaten by The Butterfly Effect in 2004.[109]
  • Spiceworld: The Movie topped the UK video charts on its first week of release, selling over 55,000 copies on its first day in the shops.[136]
  • In Canada, "Goodbye" sat at the number-one position for sixteen consecutive weeks. The song ranks in Canada as the third best-selling single of the 1990s and the best-selling single of 1999 certified 2× Platinum.
  • Received several awards including five BRIT Awards, three American Music Awards, three MTV Europe Music Awards, one MTV Video Music Awards and three World Music Awards.
  • 23,000 tickets for Spice Girls reunion shows in London sold out in 38 seconds.[41]
  • The Spice Girls Reunion Tour was announced as the Highest Grossing Concert Act of 2008 with netted £16.5 million (US$33 million) for the band.[137][138] In total, the tour took more than $70 million.[139]

Awards

Discography

Studio albums:

Compilation albums:

See also

References

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Book references

  • Hardy, Phil. The Faber Companion to 20th century Popular Music (Faber and Faber, 2001) ISBN 057119608X
  • Larkin, Colin. The Virgin Encyclopaedia of Popular Music (4th ed.) (Virgin Books, 2003.) ISBN 1852279230
  • Sinclair, David. : How the Spice Girls Reinvented Pop Fame (Omnibuss Press, 2004) ISBN 0-711-98643-6

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Spice Girls are an all-female pop music group who formed in 1994 in London, England and split up in 2001. They reformed in 2007.

Sourced

  • The top is high so your roots are forgotten
    Giving is good as long as you're getting
    What's driving you? it's ambition and betting
    I said who do you think you are?

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

The Spice Girls are a popular pop group formed in 1994. Their hits include "Wannabe", "Spice Up Your Life" and "Stop".

The members of the group are: Victoria Beckham ("Posh Spice"), Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice"), Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice"), Melanie Chisholm ("Sporty Spice") and Geri Halliwell ("Ginger Spice").

The group released three albums: Spice in 1996, Spice World in 1997 and Forever (Spice Girls album)|Forever in 2000. The Spice Girls also starred in Spiceworld: The Movie, which was released in December 1997.

The five girls reunited in 2007 and announced a world tour which started in December. A Greatest Hits album was released.

On 1 February 2008 the group said that the tour would end early, disappointing some fans.









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