"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.."
The Spice Girls
The Spice Girls have been around since the early 1990's when five girls who were unknown to each other, answered an ad which stated that it was looking for "girls to form a band." One can only surmise that at that time, such an ad was not as scary as it would be today; the managers picked the girls who later became the core of the Spice Girls and offered them the gig. But the girls knew they had "something" so they ultimately rejected his offer and, after only two months together on their own, they launched their collective career.
So went the birth of The Spice Girls from the imagination of the father and son music management team, Bob and Chris Herbert. They floundered without a manager for nearly two years and because they wouldn't pick a leader, the music world mistook that act of altruism as one of defiance and the record labels refused to work with them.
New Group Gets Nicknames
Finally, Simon Fuller, best known at that time for his association with Annie Lennox, signed them to Virgin. Nicknames soon emerged and Geri Estelle Halliwell became Ginger Spice, Melanie Janine Brown was named Scary Spice, Melanie Jayne Chilsom, best known for her athletic back flips onstage and gutsy vocals was fondly labeled Sporty Spice, Victoria Adams (now Beckham after marrying David of soccer fame) answered to Posh Spice, and Emma Lee Banton as youngest of the group, became Baby Spice.
Just when the general population of England was felt to be just "too, too" to be bothered with feminism, the Spice Girls rocked that world with their boldness, independence and "burn the roof of your mouth" heat. They were both sweet and savory and crossed all generational boundaries with their mixture of pop and passion.
They topped the charts in England with their first single, Wannabe, which was released in the summer of 1996, followed by their second single Say You'll Be There in October and their third single, 2 Become 1 was released in December; their blockbuster debut album, Spice, quickly followed by the end of the year.
Although they gained considerable fame in many countries, they were not well-known in the United States. In 1997, to the delight of millions, they moved their focus to the United States. Wannabe debuted there in January of that year, followed by Spice in February.
Success in the States
Having learned little from the debacle of self management which they attempted early in their career, the band fired Simon Fuller in 1997 and again attempted to manage themselves. This might have been the beginning of the end, and many speculated that the group owed its success to their management by Fuller.
Second Attempt at Self Management
Acclaimed worldwide, The Spice Girls accepted numerous endorsements, thriving on their success. Sadly, success was short lived; the market became saturated with Spice Girls and in 1998, their fans were shocked when Geri Halliwell left the group. After some failed attempts at keeping the band together, in 2000 they disbanded.
All hope was not lost however, and millions of fans were elated when on June 28, 2007 at a press conference at The O2 in London, the Spice Girls emerged intact. The subsequent worldwide tour began in Vancouver in December and was followed by the London performance of "The Return of the Spice Girls." That performance sold out in 38 seconds; they were back and they felt the love.
As can be attested to by the large number of free MP3 downloads offered to the public, the Spice Girls became known for their generosity. They support meeting the needs of children, stopping abuse, ending disease and suffering, research and support related to physical and mental challenges, and solving the problem of substance abuse. They performed for many charities and most notably sang "Stop" live for the BBC Children in Need Telethon in December of 2007.
"I want to create a unique celebration of the band and its music, with its own flavor and joyful message. It is important to me that the excitement, style and humor of the Spice Girls is well represented on stage" said Judy Cramer, creator of the much loved musical and film "Mama Mia." Her new project, a musical entitled "Viva Forever," will feature the group's most popular releases. It is said that Gerri Halliwell came up with the idea and after some gentle persuasion, Cramer was on board.
Now To 2010
Did you know that...
- ...The Spice Girls earned an astonishing $100 million in 1998 achieving the highest annual earnings ever for an all girl band.
- ...Wannabe sold approximated 6 million copies, making it the most successful song released by an all female group. It was their first single.
- ...in 1997, the girls wrote their own movie about themselves entitled Spice World