The Spice Girls were a British pop girl group formed in 1994. They consisted of Victoria Beckham (née Adams), Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, and Geri Halliwell. According to the BBC and The Times, they are the most successful 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 that paved the way for the commercial breakthrough of teen pop in 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, their level of celebrity and pop cultural impact was constantly compared with 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, "Scary, 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 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 was called 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 Power" ideals.
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.
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.
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