Spice Girls: From 1994 to their reunion tour starting in Croke Park tonight
Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Horner are preparing to tour.
The Spice Girls will reunite on stage for the start of their first tour in a decade.
Croke Park will see the band’s first reunion on stage since the London Olympics in 2012.
Ahead of their comeback, here is a rundown of all you need to know about the pop group that was so pivotal to the culture of the 1990s.
– Starting out
The group burst on to the scene in 1996 with their debut single Wannabe.
The track topped charts all over the world and propelled the five-piece to global stardom.
Soon after, a Top Of The Pops magazine feature gave the girls their nicknames – Victoria Beckham was Posh, Emma Bunton was Baby, Mel B (Brown) was Scary, Mel C (Melanie Chisholm) was Sporty and Geri Halliwell, now Horner, was known as Ginger.
– Biggest hits
The girls followed Wannabe with a string of number one singles, including Say You’ll Be There, 2 Become 1 and Spice Up Your Life.
Their debut album, Spice, made them the fastest-selling British act since The Beatles.
To date they have sold more than 85 million records.
Their impact on popular culture was as big as their impact on the charts, as the group took their empowering brand of Girl Power all over the globe.
During the height of their fame, they met royalty, were pictured with Nelson Mandela – who called the girls “my heroes” – and performed with operatic heavyweight Pavarotti.
They also provided memorable moments such as their performance at the 1997 Brit Awards, when Horner wore a dress emblazoned with the Union Jack during their set.
The Spice Girls plugged into the trend for Cool Britannia, and used their star power to endorse everything from deodorant to dolls.
A movie, Spice World, was released in 1997 and despite earning the Spices a joint Razzie award for worst actress, it was a box office hit.
– Geri leaves the group
While the group was still going strong, change was on the horizon.
Horner, aka Ginger Spice, shocked the world when she left in 1998, citing “differences between us”.
She left the others to complete their North American tour without her.
Later that year, the remaining Spices released the song Goodbye, which was widely seen as a tribute to Horner. It gave the group their third Christmas number one.
But without the flame-haired singer, a vital ingredient appeared to be missing and the band split in 2000.
– Solo careers
Horner wasted no time in launching a solo career, with tracks such as Mi Chico Latino and Lift Me Up making it to the top of the charts in the UK in 1999.
Meanwhile, her former bandmates had a quiet couple of years.
They returned to the scene in 2000 with a double A side, Holler/Let Love Lead The Way.
It went to number one, but it was to be the last Spice Girls single until 2007.
In December 2000, the group went their separate ways.
While there was no formal split, the girls announced an “indefinite hiatus” and all indicated that they would be concentrating on their solo careers.
Horner’s ex-bandmates followed in her footsteps with their own solo singles.
Chisholm, said to be the most talented singer of the group, enjoyed hits like Never Be The Same Again and I Turn to You.
Beckham’s single Out Of Your Mind was famously beaten to the top spot of the UK charts by a track featuring the then little-known Sophie Ellis-Bextor, despite a huge publicity campaign. She later launched her fashion career.
Bunton, now a radio host, enjoyed a number one with What Took You So Long? and also released a cover of Downtown, while Brown, who became a judge on The X Factor, had a chart-topper with I Want You Back, featuring Missy Elliott.
After much speculation, in 2007 the group announced a reunion tour.
They unveiled a Greatest Hits album and a single, Headlines (Friendship Never Ends).
In 2012, they emerged once more to perform at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony in London.
They also gathered together to launch a stage musical inspired by their songs called Viva Forever.
– Rumoured feud
There have been reports of tension between Brown and Beckham, after Beckham apparently indicated that she did not want to do a reunion tour.
Earlier this year, Brown said on Loose Women that a reunion was going ahead but that one person had been holding things up.
“There’s one that’s been a bit difficult. But she’s getting roped in,” she said.
And she recently appeared to have a dig at Beckham when she and a friend dressed up as Posh and Becks for Halloween.
– Spice World
In November 2018, Spice Girls fans received news they had longed for, with the announcement of a reunion tour.
Brown, Chisholm, Horner and Bunton announced the initial six-date tour on a newly created Spice Girls Twitter account.
In a joint statement, they said: “We are beyond excited to be reuniting next year for a stadium tour.
“Bringing girl power and our message of friendship and love back to the stage feels more relevant than ever. We hope everyone can join us for one big Spice Girls party.”
– No Posh Spice
Beckham was understood to not be joining the reunion tour, and when her fellow Spice Girls announced the news of their comeback, it was confirmed she would not be taking part.
Posh Spice nevertheless wished her former bandmates luck on the road.
She said in a statement at the time: “Being in the Spice Girls was a hugely important part of my life and I wish my girls so much love and fun as they go back on tour, I know they will put on an amazing show and the fantastic fans past and present are going to have a wonderful time.”
Beckham told US TV programme Good Morning America her decision not to join the tour “wasn’t hard”.
She added: “I’ll always be a Spice Girl. I’m proud of them. It’s going to be the best show.”
– Fans respond
The initial six-date stadium tour rapidly expanded due to popular demand from Spice Girls fans.
Further dates were added as venue after venue sold out for the reunion tour.
The Spice Girls broke ticket sale records as fans struggled to secure their place at a show in an online queue of more than 700,000 people.
– Rumours of a rift
Early in 2019, trouble appeared to be brewing for the band following claims made by Brown about a sexual encounter with bandmate Horner.
She said that the pair had slept together at the height of the pop group’s fame in an interview with Piers Morgan for his Life Stories programme.
Horner denied the claims, and said not everything her fellow Spice Girl said should be believed.
On the Chris Evans Breakfast Radio Show, Bunton said: “With Mel B, you have to take everything with a pinch of salt. She’s great fun.”
In April, the band brushed off rumours of a split after Brown missed rehearsals.
Bunton explained that Brown was still rehearsing, but separately due to other commitments.
– Ready for their return
Ahead of their first show in Dublin, the band were keen to share their excitement at reuniting for the first time in seven years.
Horner shared images of the impressive stage set-up which fans would witness at the concerts, as Brown and Chisholm posted online about their arrival in Ireland.
The tour takes in 13 dates and finishes at London’s Wembley Stadium on June 15.