Thursday 22 February 2018

The Spice Girls burst on to the music scene more than 20 years ago

Forever associated with Girl Power, the wannabes would become one of the biggest bands of the 90s.

The Spice Girls (Anthony Devlin/PA)
The Spice Girls (Anthony Devlin/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The Spice Girls burst on to the pop scene with Wannabe, and its memorable lyric “zig-a-zig-ah”, more than 20 years ago.

Forever associated with Girl Power, they would become one of the biggest bands of the 90s.

Geri Halliwell, Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm and Michelle Stephenson, who was replaced by Emma Bunton, were plucked from hundreds of applicants answering an advert asking for “streetwise” and “determined” girls.

The band replaced their manager and signed up with Simon Fuller and Wannabe, released in 1996, became the biggest-selling single by an all-female group.

A string of hits, like Say You’ll Be There, and 2 Become 1, followed and the band conquered the US market.

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The Spice Girls (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Ginger, Posh, Baby, Scary and Sporty would sell more than 55 million records.

They plugged into the trend for Cool Britannia, most memorably with Geri Halliwell’s Union flag dress, and used their star power to endorse everything from deodorant to dolls and chocolate.

A movie, Spice World, followed in 1997 and despite earning the Spices a joint Razzie award for Worst Actress, it was a box office hit.

The band met Nelson Mandela and the Queen and sparked controversy by calling Margaret Thatcher the original Spice Girl.

After sacking Fuller,  seen as the ultimate display of Girl Power, there were constant rumours of a split and the single Stop became the first not to make it to the top spot.

Halliwell missed tour dates before her lawyer announced, in 1998, she was quitting, citing differences with her bandmates.

The group ploughed on, and their third album Forever, released in 2000, was their first not to get to number one.

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Emma Bunton, Mel C, Victoria Beckham and Mel B celebrate after their final performance at the Brit Awards (Fiona Hanson/PA)

The remaining Spices turned to solo careers and in December 2000 announced what they called an “indefinite hiatus”.

They enjoyed a brief reunion in 2007, after announcing their comeback in a blaze of publicity.

They later cut short some of their reunion tour, citing “family and personal commitments”.

They then performed together, dancing on top of taxis, at the closing ceremony, in London, of the 2012 Olympics.

Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! closed after seven months in 2013 after poor ticket sales.

In 2016, Bunton reunited with Horner and Brown under the name GEM.

Press Association

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