|Origin||London, England/ LA, USA|
|Genre||Pop, 90s Pop, Europop, Teen-pop|
|Years active|| (1996 - 2000)|
(2007 - 2008)
(2016 - present)
|Labels|| Virgin Records (1996 - 2007)|
EMI Records (2016 - present)
| Melanie Brown|
| Victoria Beckham|
The Spice Girls are an English pop girl group formed in 1994. The group comprised Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice"), Melanie Chisholm ("Sporty Spice"), Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice"), Geri Halliwell ("Ginger Spice"), and Victoria Beckham ("Posh Spice"). They were signed to Virgin Records and released their debut single "Wannabe" in 1996, which hit number one in 37 countries and established their global success. Their debut album Spice sold more than 31 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album by a female group in history. Their follow-up album, Spiceworld sold over 20 million copies worldwide. The Spice Girls have sold 85 million records worldwide, making them the best-selling female group of all time, one of the best-selling pop groups of all time, and the biggest British pop success since The Beatles. Among the highest profile acts in 1990s popular culture, Time called them "arguably the most recognizable face" of Cool Britannia, the mid-1990s celebration of youth culture in the UK.
Measures of their success include international record sales, a 2007–2008 reunion tour, a 2019 reunion tour, merchandising, iconic symbolism such as Halliwell's Union Jack dress representing "girl power", and a film, Spice World. The group became one of the most successful marketing engines ever, earning up to $75 million per year, with their global gross income estimated at $500–800 million by May 1998. Under the guidance of their mentor and manager Simon Fuller, the Spice Girls embraced merchandising and became a regular feature of the British and global press. In 1996, Top of the Pops magazine gave each member of the group aliases, which were adopted by the group and media. According to Rolling Stone journalist and biographer David Sinclair, "Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh, and Sporty were the most widely recognised group of individuals since John, Paul, George, and Ringo". With the "girl power" label, the Spice Girls were popular cultural icons of the 1990s. They are cited as part of the 'second wave' 1990s British Invasion of the US.
Auditions In the mid-1990s, father-and-son management team Bob and Chris Herbert together with their financier Chic Murphey placed an advertisement in The Stage for auditions for a girl group, which was supposed to respond and compete with the boy bands that dominated the early 1990s. This prompted hundreds of girls to audition which was whittled down to five girls that included Melanie Brown, Melanie Laccohee, Lianne Morgan, Michelle Stephenson and Suzanne Tinker.
The line-up changed when Melanie Laccohee was offered to sing solo and replaced with Victoria Beckham and because of the bomb scare on the London tube that caused Suzanne Tinker to unable to arrive at the last set of auditions, subsequently causing Geri Halliwell to replace her. The group was then given the name Touch 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, Lianne Morgan was taken off the group as the management felt that she was more suited as a solo, which she then was replaced by Melanie Chisholm.
With the original line up, they started to work on demos and dance routines, which Stephenson didn't like. She considered it as "very, very young pop" included the song We're Gonna Make It Happen, a song that was never officially released, but footage of the girls performing it can be seen in their 2008 documentary. 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. She was to be replaced by Abigail Kis, who was too young and had personal commitments causing her to quit the band, so they were led to invite 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, who welcomed her with open arms after feeling an instant connection with the other girls.
Becoming the Spice GirlsEdit
During an aerobics lesson, Geri came up with a name "Spice" for the band, which Emma commented on how it fits in the band saying, "Because we are all really different", additionally they had already wrote a song named Sugar and Spice. However, an Amerian artist had already had that name so they added "Girls" at the end, finally forming the band that would grow to be loved by fans called the "Spice Girls".
Later on, each member of the Spice Girls all were given notable nicknames by Top of the Pops magazine that described and gave them their individual persona: Victoria Adams who was nicknamed Posh Spice, Melanie Brown nicknamed Scary Spice, Emma Bunton who was Baby Spice, Melanie Chisholm who was Sporty Spice, and Geri Halliwell who was Ginger Spice.
Things turned into another direction as the group felt insecure with the lack of a contract and were fustrated with the direction Heart Management was steering them. In October, armed with a cataloguof demos and dance routines, the group began touring management agencies.T hey persuaded Bob Herbert to set up a showcase performance for the group in front of industry writers, producers and A&R men in December at the Nomis Studios in Shepherd Bush where they received an "overwhelmingly positive" reaction. 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, 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. That same day the Spice 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, and the girls were given £500,000 advance. 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.
In June, Wannabe is released as a single,and peaks at the number 1 spot in the UK Singles Charts. 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 and solidifying the group's reputation as the biggest pop act in the world.
In November, 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. In seven weeks Spice had sold 1.8 million copies in Britain alone, making the Spice Girls the fastest selling British act since the Beatles.
That same month the Spice Girls attracted a crowd of 500,000 when they switched on the Christmas lights in Oxford Street, London. 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.
Continued Global SuccessEdit
In January, 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. Wannabe reached number one in the US for four weeks. In February, Spice was releasde inthe U.S., became the biggest-selling album of 1997, peaking at number one.
In March, a double A-side of Mama/Who Do You Think You Are was released in Europe, the last from Spice, which once again saw them at number one, making the Spice Girls the first group in history to have four consecutive number one hits in the UK. Girl Power!, The Spice Girls' first book and manifesto was launched later that same month at the Virgin Megastore. In April, Spice: the Official Video Volume One is released.
In May, Spiceworld: The Movie 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.
Global Domination and SpicemaniaEdit
- Main Article: Spiceworld
In October, 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 in Istanbul, Turkey. Later, the Girls traveled to South Africa to meet Nelson Mandela, during the height of their career.
In November, the Spice Girls released their second album, Spiceworld. The album was a global best seller as it set a new record for the fastest-selling album when it shipped seven million copies over the course of two weeks. Gaining favorable reviews, the album went on to sell over 10 million copies in Europe, Canada, and the United States combined, and 20 million copies worldwide. 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 criticized for the number of sponsorship deals signed – 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 November 7, the girls performed Spice Up Your Life in the 1997 MTV Europe Music Awards and won awards for Best Group. 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 grou, 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. The group quickly found the burden of managing themselves tim- consuming, so they assigned various responsibilities to each member of the group: Melanie B. was responsible for tour control; Geri Halliwell 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.
Main Article: Spiceworld (tour) and (album) Edit
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, 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).
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 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. 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 DepartureEditOn May 31, Geri announced her departure from the Spice Girls after many rumours cropped up about her disappearance from the group in interviews, which the girls were fully unawareoft her status at the time. A statement was released by the Spice Girls sent a statement to the offices of their solicitors in central London at 1400 BST:
"We are upset and saddended by Geri's departure, but we are very supportiveofn whatever she wants to do. The Spice Girls are here to stay, see ya at the stadiums. We are sorry to all of our fans for having to go through all this. All our love Victoria, Emma, Mel B, Mel C, friendship never ends. One final thing if I can add, and that's thereares no problems with the American tour going ahead as planned."The four remaining girls were adamant though that the group would carry on and that they're 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 rumured animated venture by Disney also failed to materialzse.
New sounds and beginningsEdit
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 and achieved only a fraction of the success of its two best-selling predecessors, selling three million copies.
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.
Return of the Spice GirlsEdit
Main Article: Return of the Spice Girls EditThe split lasted for about seven years when the girls were to formally announce on June 28, 2007, during a press conference that they would tour as a quintet for the last time. This was the first tour to feature the return of Geri Halliwell after she quit The Spice Girls in 1998. This was the last tour to feature Victoria Beckham and Mel C. After years of speculation from the media about the reformation, they confirmed that they would go on tour as a quintet for the last time. Filmmaker Bob Smeaton directed an official documentary on the reunion as well as looking back at their past exploring each girl's comments and opinions on them, entitling it Spice Girls: Giving You Everything.
On top of the sell-out world tour, The Spice Girls licensed their name and image to Tesco's UK supermarket chain, which has reportedly been that they were paid £1 million each for their appearances in Tesco advertisements. They also recorded a comeback single, Headlines (Friendship Never Ends), was announced as the official Children in Need charity single for 2007 and was released 5 November, from their Greatest Hits album. The Spice Girls cut their tour short in 2008 due to family commitments.
Second Reunion RumorsEdit
Main Article: Second Reunion Edit
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. Victoria Beckham was absent from the night due to her work schedule. Brown then mused about the possibilities of another tour on her Twitter.
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. In the same month, Brown admited in a Colombian interview that she is planning to get together with the groups' former members for a reality show, stating that she was looking for "girls" inspired in the Spice Girls.
London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony and Viva Forever : The MusicalEdit
In 2010, Judy Craymer teamed up with the Spice Girls and Simon Fuller to start developing a Spice Girls musical entitled "Viva Forever".The musical was written by British comedian Jennifer Saunders. 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!. The show opened on December 12, 2012, and all of the Spice Girls were present at the first performance. "Viva Forever" closed on June 29, 2013 due to low ticket sales.
On August 12, 2012 The Spice Girls performed as a quintet for the last time at the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony. This was the last Spice Girls concert to feature Victoria Beckham and Mel C.
2016 - presentEdit
In 2016 Mel B, Emma Bunton, and Geri Halliwell reunited for the 20th anniversary of The Spice Girls debut album and are working on new music. Their fourth album is expected to be released in the near future. Former Spice Girls members Victoria Beckham and Mel C opted to not take part in the reunion to focus on their own careers. During an interview with James Corden on "Late Late Show" Mel B announced that The Spice Girls will go on tour again for the 20th anniversary of their debut album. Victoria Beckham and Mel C gave Mel B, Emma, and Geir their blessing to reunite and go on tour without them. The Spice Girls are working on releasing a new single. The Spice Girls new single "Song For Her" was leaked on YouTube. The reunion was temporarily put on hold after Geri announced that she was pregnant with her second child. On January 21, 2017 Geri welcomed her son Montague George Hector Horner. In April 2017 three months after Monty was born and after Mel B filed for a divorce from her husband Stephen Belafonte The Spice Girls announced that they would reunite as a trio in the near future. The plans for Spice Girls GEM were eventually scrapped. On November 11, 2017 T,he Spice Girls announced that all five of them would reunite in 2018 for a TV special and a new album. In 2018 Mel C rejoined The Spice Girls. They toured in the UK without Victoria Beckham in 2019.
- Spice (1996)
- Spiceworld (1997)
- Forever (2000)
- The Spice Girls: Greatest Hits (2007)
- TBA (TBA)