Monday, July 27, 2009 4:12:24 AM
The Spice Girls was a British pop girl group formed in 1994. They consisted of Victoria Beckham (formerly Adams), Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, and Geri Halliwell. They are the best-selling 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 for being the pioneers and pave the way for the commercial breakthrough of teen pop in the decade of 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 more than 60 million records worldwide with only four albums and twelve singles, the demand for their first two albums was unprecedented, making them the most successful British band since the Beatles, and compared with the Beatlemania. Measures of their success include international record sales, a 2007/2008 reunion tour, merchandising, record breaking achievements, iconic symbolism such as the Union Jack dress, "Girl Power", a movie called 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, "Spooky, Baby, Ginger, Posh and Sporty were the most widely recognized group of individuals since John, Paul, George and Ringo."
In May 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. In February 2008, the Spice Girls announced that they were ending their tour prematurely in Toronto on 26 February 2008.
Victoria Beckham (then Victoria Adams)/Posh Spice (October 1994–February 2001 & June 2007–February 2008). Victoria was called Posh Spice because of her refined attitude and her short bobbed brunette hair, form-fitting designer outfits, such as little black dresses, and her love of high-heeled footwear.
Melanie Brown/Scary Spice (October 1994–February 2001 & June 2007–February 2008). Melanie was given the nickname "Scary Spice" by the British media 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 which went smaller when Ginger spice left the band.
Emma Bunton/Baby Spice (October 1994–February 2001 & 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 (October 1994–February 2001 & June 2007–February 2008). Because Melanie usually wore a tracksuit with her hair in a ponytail and sporting a tough girl attitude, she was called Sporty Spice.
Geri Halliwell/Ginger Spice (October 1994–May 1998 & June 2007–February 2008). Geri, dubbed Ginger Spice because of her "liveliness, zest and flaming red hair". She often wore outrageous stage outfits and was seen by many as de facto leader of the Group and as spokesperson for the group's "Girl
Early years (1994–1995)
In the mid-1990s, father-and-son management team Bob and Chris Herbert set about creating an all female group that could compete with the onslaught of equally 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." 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".Hundreds of girls responded and the applicants were whittled down to a final five that included Victoria Adams, Lianne Morgan, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Brown and Michelle Stephenson. The group was 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 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. 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 (manager) stated that "she just wasn't fitting in... she would never have gelled with it and I had to tell her to go". 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. 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.
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. 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. 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 Management. 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.
On 7th of 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 70 times a week. After the video was released The Spice Girls had their first live TV slot on broadcast on LWT's Surprise Surprise.
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 recognised 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." 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.
The Spice Girls featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine when Spicemania took over the North American market.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 toping the charts at number one for two weeks, in December "2 Become 1" was released, becoming their first Christmas Number 1 and sold 430,000 copies in its first week, making 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 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. In just seven weeks Spice had sold 1.8 million copies in Britain alone, making the Spice Girls the fastest selling British act since the Beatles. In total, the album sold 3 million copies in Britain, the biggest-selling album of all time in the UK by a female group certified 10x Platinum 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.
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. 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".
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". "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 for sales in excess of 7.4 million copies. 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. In total, the album sold 23 million copies worldwide become in the biggest-selling album in the music history by a girl group.
Later that month, the Spice Girls won two Brit Awards for Best Video, "Say You’ll Be There" and Best Single for "Wannabe", 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.
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, making the Spice Girls the first group in history to have four consecutive number one hits. 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. 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.
At the Ivor Novella 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.
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 girl's 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”. 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 proved to be an instant 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, 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 criticised 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 7 November 1997, 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 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. 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,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 Geri Halliwell's departure from the group in May 1998. The song became the seventh number one, and the video includes scenes of Geri 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 with 150,000 fans every night and Twelve gigs at Birmingham’s NEC Arena. 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 with Geri.
Halliwell leaves the group (1998)
On 31 May 1998, Geri Halliwell announced her departure from the Spice Girls. Through her solicitor she issued the following statement: "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." Halliwell claimed that she was suffering from exhaustion and wanted to take time out. Halliwell's departure from the group shocked fans and became one of the biggest entertainment news stories of the year, making news headlines the world over. Geri would go on to launch a 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", in Christmas 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.
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, Geri 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. 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 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 having a break and would be concentrating on their solo careers in regards to their foreseeable future, although they pointed out that the group was not splitting.
The 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. The plan to reform had long been speculated by the media, but the group finally confirmed their intention to embark upon a world wide concert tour, starting in Vancouver on 2 December 2007. 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,followed by BBC One in the UK, on 31 December.
Opening night of The Return of the Spice Girls tour in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.Ticket sales for the first London date of "The Return of the Spice Girls" World Tour sold out in 38 seconds. 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. Sixteen additional dates in London had been addedand sold out. In the United States, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Jose shows also sold out, prompting additional dates to be added. 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 very first concert in Canada, they performed to an audience of 15,000 people, singing twenty songs and changing a total of eight times.
Along with the tour sell-out, the Spice Girls licensed their name and image to Tesco's UK supermarket chain. The band have reportedly been paid £5 million for their appearances in Tesco advertisements.
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. They also performed the song live for the BBC Children in Need telethon on 16 November 2007 from Los Angeles, in Roberto Cavalli gowns. 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. Australia was the only country for the album to debut and reach number 1. This is the first Spice Girls album to reach number 1 in Australia. To date, their Greatest Hits album has been declared platinum in Australia and the UK, 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.
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 completely canceled. The demand for tickets was unprecedented, the Girls ended up performing 47 sell out shows, when they had originally planned to perform only 11.
The Spice Girls Reunion Tour netted £16.5 million (US$33 million) for the London dates alone, making them the highest-grossing concert act of 2008 In total, the world tour banked more than $70 million in gross ticket sales. The Spice Girls ranked No. 50 in the World's Most Powerful Celebrities 2008, according to business magazine Forbes.
In March 2008, the group won the coveted "Icon Awards" at the 95.8 Capital Awards; Emma Bunton and Melanie C were there to collect the award. In June, they captured the Glamour Award for the Best Band; Bunton, Melanie B and Geri 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.
The Spice Girls will not release a DVD of the Return of the Spice Girls. Although each member of the group have a copy of the tour. Melanie B. and Melanie C. have both confirmed that releasing the DVD was not on the foreseeable future. Due to the poor images of video footage, the girls felt it was wrong distributing the DVD to local retailers.