Girl Power: Spice Up Your Life

In the 1990s, the Spice Girls were everywhere - dominating the charts, selling millions of albums in dozens of countries, featured in advertising campaigns and constantly in the media. The ongoing buzz around the group, or "Spicemania" helped them become one of the best selling groups of the decade. Their bold lyrics and "Girl Power" slogan also made them important figures in the empowerment of women and girls around the world.

Formation of Touch

During the mid 90s, boy bands dominated pop music. Seeking to create a group that could appeal to both men and women, the idea for an all female pop group was created by Bob and Chris Herbert, a father and son management duo. They advertised for young women who could sing and dance, and after holding auditions, five members were chosen to form the group Touch, including future Spice Girls Victoria Adams, Geri Halliwell, and Melanie Brown. Lianne Morgan and Michelle Stephenson, who were originally chosen for Touch, would soon be replaced by Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton. The group quickly became frustrated by their lack of record contract and left their management. After signing with Virgin Records and getting new management by Simon Fuller the group changed their name to the Spice Girls.

Nicknames

Each girl received a nickname from the British media fitting their unique personality and style. Originally intended as a playful jab at their iconic images, the girls quickly embraced their nicknames:

  • Victoria Adams (Posh Spice) - named for refined taste, often seen in high heels and skin tight dresses.
  • Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) - her nickname was chosen because of her youthfulness and wearing pigtails and baby doll dress.
  • Melanie Brown (Scary Spice) – named for her colorful outfits, take-charge personality, big wild curly hair and even bigger voice.
  • Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice) - her sporty attire, ponytail and tomboyish attitude lead to the nickname.
  • Geri Halliwell (Sexy/Ginger Spice) - originally named Sexy due to her skin tight revealing outfits, Ginger was chosen to be more appropriate for the groups young audience and matched her bright hair and lively attitude.

Debut Album and “Girl Power”

Released in 1996, Spice, the groups debut album, became an international bestseller. First single "Wannabe" was a chart topper in over 30 countries, officially launching "Spicemania". The sassy pop lyrics kicked off the "Girl Power" theme that the Spice Girls embraced. It emphasized that women could be independent, fun, sassy, positive, take charge and show solidarity with their girlfriends. They proved that you didn't need to be dating someone to be confident and sexy. Girl power set itself apart from other feminist themes of the time, showing women could reach for equality while still being sexy and fashionable.

The follow up, "Say You'll Be There" also expanded on the girl power movement with its music video featuring the girls as powerful female figures. Both "Say You'll Be There" and third single, "2 Become 1" reached number one in the UK and charted in the top 10 throughout most of Europe, Canada and the United States. Spice would go on to become the biggest selling album of 1997 in Europe and the United States.

Spiceworld: Movie and Album

The follow up to their debut album Spiceworld sold 20 million albums around the globe. The first two releases, "Spice Up Your Life" and "Too Much" were major successes, reaching number one in the UK and being top 10 hits in the United States. Spiceworld still holds the record as the best selling album by an all female group.

The album tied in to their feature film of the same name. The movie is a musical comedy where the Spice Girls play fictionalized version of themselves. As they prepare for the biggest concert in their career, the girls must deal with the pressure and demands of fame. Memorable scenes film include cameos by Elton John and Elvis Costello as well as the films many dream sequences and flashbacks. The film would gross over $70 million worldwide.

Break up

On May 31, 1998, Geri Halliwell announced that she would be leaving the Spice Girls. Her departure was a big shock, and sent fans into a frenzy. The Spice Girls continued to make music after Halliwell left, recording Forever and continuing to tour.

Comeback Tour

In 2007, all five Spice Girls returned with a Greatest Hits album, a documentary and world tour. Of the two new songs added to the album, only " Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)" was released as a single. The tour was a major success, performing in almost 50 shows and becoming the best selling tour of 2008.

Greatest Hits

The Spice Girls released a number of singles throughout their years, and had 9 singles reach #1 in the UK. Their greatest hits are as follows:

Spice (1996)

  • "Wannabe"
  • "Say You'll Be There"
  • "2 Become 1"
  • "Who Do You Think You Are?"
  • "Mama"

Spiceworld (1997)

  • "Spice Up Your Life"
  • "Too Much"
  • "Stop"
  • "Viva Forever"

Forever (2000)

  • "Goodbye"
  • "Holler"
  • "Let Love Lead the Way"

Greatest Hits (2007)

  • "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)"

Individual Success

Since the Spice Girls split up, each member released solo music with various levels of success:

  • Victoria has since married soccer star David Beckham and had three kids. The international style icon has released a successful autobiography and fashion bible, starred in reality shows and launched clothing, fragrance and cosmetic lines.
  • Mel B. went on to host and participate in a number of reality shows and had a stint on Broadway. Mel made tabloid headlines when she became pregnant after dating actor/comedian Eddie Murphy. She has since married movie producer Stephen Belafonte, released a fitness DVD and continues work on a third solo album.
  • After releasing several albums, Emma turned her focus to acting and hosting a radio show.
  • Geri Halliwell saw success as a solo artist and released three albums to rave reviews. Geri has also released successful autobiographies and yoga DVDs, and now focuses on writing children's books.
  • Mel C. has had perhaps the biggest success as a solo artist, releasing four successful albums. She continues to work as a solo star and released her fourth album in 2008.

Spice Girls Resources

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