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Spice Girls

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Spice Girls
Spice Girls in Toronto, Ontario.jpg
The Spice Girls performing during their penultimate reunion concert in Toronto, Ontario, in February 2008. (L–R) Melanie Chisholm, Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Brown, and Emma Bunton.
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres
Years active
  • 1994–2000
  • 2007–08
  • 2012
  • 2016–present
Labels Virgin
Website thespicegirls.com
Members
Past members

The Spice Girls are an English pop girl group formed in 1994. The group originally consisted of Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice"), Melanie Chisholm ("Sporty Spice"), Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice"), Geri Halliwell ("Ginger Spice"), and Victoria Beckham, née Adams ("Posh Spice"). They were signed to Virgin Records and released their debut single "Wannabe" in 1996, which hit number one in 37 countries[1][2] and established them as a global phenomenon. Their debut album Spice sold more than 31 million copies worldwide,[3] becoming the best-selling album by a female group in history. Their follow-up album Spiceworld sold over 20 million copies worldwide.[4][5][6][7] The Spice Girls have sold 85 million records worldwide,[8][9][10] making them the best-selling female group of all time, one of the best-selling pop groups of all time,[9][11] and the biggest British pop phenomenon since Beatlemania.[12][13][14] Among the highest profile acts in 1990s British popular culture, Time called them "arguably the most recognisable face" of Cool Britannia, the mid-1990s celebration of youth culture in the UK.[15]

Measures of their success include international record sales, a 2007–2008 reunion tour, merchandising, record-breaking achievements, iconic symbolism such as Halliwell's Union Jack dress representing "girl power", and a film, Spice World. The group became one of the most successful marketing engines ever,[16] earning up to $75 million per year,[17] with their global grosses estimated at $500–800 million by May 1998.[16] Under the guidance of their mentor and manager Simon Fuller, the Spice Girls embraced merchandising and became a regular feature of the British and global press. In 1996, Top of the Pops magazine gave each member of the group aliases, which were adopted by the group and media. According to Rolling Stone journalist and biographer David Sinclair, "Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh and Sporty were the most widely recognised group of individuals since John, Paul, George, and Ringo".[18] With the "girl power" phenomenon, the Spice Girls were popular cultural icons of the 1990s.[19][20] They are cited as part of the 'second wave' 1990s British Invasion of the US.[21]

In 2016, Mel B, Emma Bunton and Geri Halliwell reunited and launched a new website called "Spice Girls - GEM".[22]

Band history

1994–96: Formation and early years

"WANTED: R.U. 18–23 with the ability to sing/dance? R.U. streetwise, outgoing, ambitious, and dedicated? Heart Management Ltd. are a widely successful music industry management consortium currently forming a choreographed, singing/dancing, all-female pop act for a recording deal. Open audition. Danceworks, 16 Balderton Street. Friday 4 March. 11 am-5:30 pm. Please bring sheet music or backing cassette".[23]

– Advertisement placed on The Stage

In the mid-1990s, family management team Bob Herbert and Chris Herbert of Heart Management decided to create a girl group to compete with popular boy bands, such as Take That and East 17, which dominated the pop music scene at the time.[23] In February 1994, together with financier Chic Murphy, they placed an advertisement in the trade magazine The Stage asking for singers to audition for an all-female pop band at Danceworks studios.[23] Approximately 400 women attended the audition, during which they were placed in groups of ten and danced a routine to "Stay" by Eternal, followed by solo auditions in which they were asked to perform songs of their own choosing. After several weeks of deliberation, Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm and Michelle Stephenson were among twelve women chosen to a second round of auditions in April; Geri Halliwell also attended the second audition, despite missing the first one due to work.[23]

A week after the second audition, the women were asked to attend a recall at Nomis Studios in Shepherds Bush, performing "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" on their own and in a group. During the session, Adams, Brown, Chisholm, Halliwell and Stephenson were selected to the band, initially named Touch.[23] The group moved to a house in Maidenhead, Berkshire, and spent most of 1994 training. During the first two months, they worked on demos at South Hill Park Recording Studios in Bracknell with producer/studio owner Michael Sparkes and songwriter/arranger Tim Hawes. According to Stephenson, the material the group was given was "very, very young pop";[24] one of the songs they recorded, "Sugar and Spice", would be the source of their final band name. They also worked on various dance routines at the Trinity Studios in Knaphill, near Woking, Surrey. During the training period, Stephenson was fired from the group and replaced with Emma Bunton, who came up with the band name Spice.[23][27]

The group felt insecure about the lack of a contract and was frustrated by the direction in which Heart Management was steering them. In October 1994, armed with a catalogue of demos and dance routines, they began touring management agencies. They persuaded Bob Herbert to set up a showcase performance for the group in front of industry writers, producers and A&R men in December 1994 at the Nomis Studios, where they received an "overwhelmingly positive" reaction.[28] Due to the large interest in the group, the Herberts quickly set about creating a binding contract for them. Encouraged by the reaction they had received at the Nomis showcase, all five members delayed signing contracts on the legal advice from, among others, Adams's father.

In March 1995, the group parted from Heart Management due to their frustration with the company's unwillingness to listen to their visions and ideas. To ensure they kept control of their own work, they allegedly stole the master recordings of their discography from the management offices.[29][30][31] That same day, the group tracked down Sheffield-based producer Eliot Kennedy, who had been present at the showcase, and persuaded him to work with them. They were introduced to record producers Absolute, who in turn brought them to the attention of Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment, who signed them to his company in March 1995. During the summer of that year, the group toured record labels in London and Los Angeles with Fuller, signing a deal with Virgin Records in September 1995. Their name was changed to Spice Girls, as a rapper was already using the name "Spice".[23] From this point on until the summer of 1996, the group continued to write and record tracks for their debut album while extensively touring the west coast of the United States, where they signed a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific.

1996–97: Spice and breakthrough

Main article: Spice (album)
The group performing "Say You'll be There" at the McLaren party, in 1997.

On 7 July 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 Swedish commercials director Johan Camitz and shot in April at St Pancras Chambers in London), got a trial airing on music channel The Box. The video was an instant hit, and was aired up to seventy times a week at its peak. 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 paper Music Week, at Virgin Records' Paris 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."[32] 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 one in 37 countries[1][33] 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.[34]

Riding a wave of publicity and hype, the group released their next singles in the UK and Europe; in October "Say You'll Be There" was released topping the charts at number one for two weeks. In December "2 Become 1" was released, becoming their first Christmas number one and selling 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[35] 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,[14] leading the press to dub it "Spice mania"[36][37][38] and the group the "Fab Five".[39][40][41][42] In seven weeks Spice had sold 1.8 million copies in Britain alone,[43] making the Spice Girls the fastest selling British act since the Beatles. In total, the album sold over 3 million copies in Britain,[43] the biggest-selling album of all time in the UK by a female group,[44] certified 10× Platinum,[43] and peaked at number one for fifteen non-consecutive weeks.[45] In Europe the album became the biggest-selling album of 1997 and was certified 8× Platinum by the IFPI for sales in excess of 8 million copies.[46]

That same month the Spice Girls attracted a crowd of 500,000 when they switched on the Christmas lights in Oxford Street, London.[23] 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.[23] 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".[23] In January 1997, the group released "Wannabe" in the United States.[47] The single, written by the Spice Girls, Richard Stannard, and Matt Rowe also proved to be a catalyst in helping the Spice Girls break into the notoriously difficult US market when it debuted on the Hot 100 Chart at number 11. At the time, this was the highest-ever debut by a non-American act, 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".[23] "Wannabe" reached number one in the US for four weeks. In February 1997, Spice was released in the US, and became the biggest-selling album of 1997 in the US, peaking at number one, and was certified 7× Platinum by the RIAA[48] for sales in excess of 7.4 million copies.[49] 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.[50] In total, the album sold 28 million copies worldwide[7] becoming the biggest-selling album of all-time by an all-female group.[51][52]

Later that month, the Spice Girls won two Brit Awards for Best British Video, "Say You'll Be There" and Best British Single for "Wannabe".[23][51] The group performed "Who Do You Think You Are" to open the 1997 BRIT Awards with Geri Halliwell wearing a Union Jack mini-dress, causing it to become one of pop history's most famed outfits.[53][54] In March 1997, a double A-side of "Mama"/"Who Do You Think You Are" was released in Europe, the last from Spice, which once again saw them at number one,[55] making the Spice Girls the first group in history since the Jackson 5 to have four consecutive number one hits.[23] Girl Power!, The Spice Girls' first book and manifesto was launched later that 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.[23] 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.[23] At the Ivor Novello 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 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and won Best Dance Video for "Wannabe".[56] At the 1997 Billboard Music Awards the group won four awards; New Artist of the Year, Hot 100 Singles Group of the Year, Album Group of the Year, and Album of the Year for Spice.[57]

1997–98: Groundbreaking success, Spiceworld and Halliwell's departure

Main article: Spiceworld
The Spice Girls performing "Spice Up Your Life" in Spiceworld Tour, in 1998.

In October 1997, the Spice Girls released the first single from Spiceworld, "Spice Up Your Life". It entered the UK Albums Chart at number one on 19 October 1997, making it the group's fifth consecutive number one hit single. That same month, Simon Fuller took the Spice Girls east to perform their first live major concert to 40,000 fans in Istanbul, Turkey. Later, the group launched The Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal,[58] then travelled to South Africa to meet Nelson Mandela, who announced, "These are my heroes."[59] This was the year when the Spice Girls reached the height of their career. In November, the Spice Girls released their second album, Spiceworld. The album was a global best seller. It set a new record for the fastest-selling album when it shipped seven million copies over the course of two weeks. Gaining favourable reviews,[52] the album went on to sell over 10 million copies in Europe,[60] Canada,[61] and the United States[48] combined, and 20 million copies worldwide.[62] Criticised in the United-States for releasing the album just nine months after their debut there, which gave the group two simultaneous Top 10 albums in the Billboard album charts,[63] and suffering from over-exposure at home,[58] the Spice Girls began to experience a media backlash. The group was criticised for the number of sponsorship deals signed[64]—over twenty in total—and they began to witness diminishing international chart positions. Nevertheless, the Spice Girls remained the biggest-selling pop group of both 1997 and 1998.

On 7 November 1997, the group performed "Spice Up Your Life" in the 1997 MTV Europe Music Awards.[65] After this performance, the Spice Girls made the decision to take over the running of the group themselves, and fired their manager Simon Fuller.[1] The firing was front page news around the world. Many commentators speculated that Fuller had been the true mastermind behind the group, and that this was the moment when the band lost their impetus and direction.[66] In December 1997, the second single from Spiceworld, "Too Much", was released, becoming the group's second Christmas number one and their sixth consecutive number-one single in the UK. The group ended 1997 as the year's most played artist on American radio.[67] At the 1998 American Music Awards on 26 January, the Spice Girls won the awards for Favorite Pop Album, Favorite New Artist, and Favorite Pop Group.[68] In February 1998, they won a special award for overseas success at the 1998 BRIT Awards, with combined sales of albums and singles for over of 45 million records worldwide.[69][70] That night, the group performed their next single, "Stop", their only track not to reach number one in Britain (it entered at number two).

In early 1998, the Spice Girls embarked on the Spiceworld world tour that Fuller had set up for them covering Europe and North America, starting in Dublin, Ireland on 24 February 1998 before moving to mainland Europe, and then returning to Britain for two gigs at Wembley Arena[71] and Twelve gigs at Birmingham's NEC Arena. Recordings were made for a planned live album, but the idea was dropped after Halliwell's later departure. Later that year, the Spice Girls were invited to sing on the official England World Cup song "How Does It Feel (To Be on Top of the World)", the last song recorded with Halliwell until 2007. It was derided by England football fans in favour of a re-release of the Lightning Seeds anthem "Three Lions", which beat it to number one on the singles chart.

On 31 May 1998, Halliwell announced her departure from the Spice Girls. Through her solicitor she stated: "Sadly I would like to confirm that I have left the Spice Girls. This is because of differences between us. I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best."[72] Halliwell claimed that she was suffering from exhaustion and wanted to take a break. Rumours of a power struggle with Brown as the reason for her departure were circulated by the press.[17][73] Halliwell's departure from the group shocked fans and became one of the biggest entertainment news stories of the year,[74] making news headlines the world over. Geri went on to launch an initially successful solo career.

The four remaining members were adamant that the group would carry on and that their approaching North American tour would continue as normal. However, Halliwell's departure threw most of the group's plans into disarray. It also meant that most of the material the group had recorded throughout the first half of 1998 at Dublin's Windmill Lane Studios with longtime collaborators Richard Stannard and Matt Rowe was scrapped. A rumoured animated venture by Disney also failed to materialise.

Halliwell's departure was the subject of a lawsuit by Aprilia World Service BV, a manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters. On 9 March 1998, Halliwell informed the other members of the group of her intention to withdraw from the group, yet the girls signed an agreement with AWS on 24 March and again on 30 April and participated in a commercial photo shoot on 4 May in Milan, eventually concluding a contract with AWS on 6 May 1998. The Court of Appeal of England and Wales held that their conduct constituted a misrepresentation, allowing AWS to rescind their contract with the Spice Girls. This is now the leading case in English law on misrepresentation by conduct.[75][76]

"Viva Forever" was the last single released from Spiceworld. The video for the single was made before Geri's departure and features the girls in stop-motion animated form, as there was no time to produce a video due to the world tour schedule. Originally planned as a double A-side with "Never Give Up on the Good Times", the idea was mainly as there was no time to re-record and edit out Halliwell's vocals or make a video for the track. The North American tour began in West Palm Beach on 15 June, and grossed $60 million over 40 sold-out performances.[17]

1998–2000: Forever and hiatus

Main article: Forever
The Spice Girls as a four-piece performing "Holler" in Cologne, Germany at the Return of the Spice Girls tour.

While on tour in the United-States, the group continued to record new material and released a new song, "Goodbye", before Christmas in 1998. The song was seen as a tribute to Geri Halliwell, and when it topped the UK Singles Chart it became their third consecutive Christmas number-one – equalling the record previously set by the Beatles.[77] Later in 1998, Bunton and Chisholm appeared at the 1998 MTV Europe Music Awards without their other band members, and the group won two awards: "Best Pop Act" and "Best Group" for a second time.[78] In late 1998, Brown and Adams announced they were both pregnant; Brown was married to dancer Jimmy Gulzer and became known as Mel G for a brief period. She gave birth to daughter Phoenix Chi in February 1999.[79] One month later, Adams gave birth to son Brooklyn, whose father was then Manchester United footballer David Beckham. Later that year, she married Beckham in a highly publicised wedding in Ireland.[80]

The Spice Girls returned to the studio in August 1999, after an eight-month recording break to start work on their third and last studio album. The album's sound was initially more pop-influenced, similar to their first two albums, and included production from Eliot Kennedy.[81] The album's sound took a mature direction when American producers like Rodney Jerkins, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis came on to collaborate with the group. In December 1999 they performed live for a UK-only tour, Christmas in Spiceworld, in London and Manchester, also showcasing new songs from the third album.[82] During 1999, the group recorded the character Amneris' song "My Strongest Suit" in Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, a concept album which would later go on to fuel the musical version of Verdi's Aida. The band performed again at the 2000 BRIT Awards, and it was announced that they had received the Outstanding Achievement in Music Award. Despite being at the event, Halliwell did not join her former bandmates on stage.[83] In November 2000, the group released Forever. Sporting a new edgier R&B sound, the album received a lukewarm response from critics.[84]

In the US, the album peaked at number thirty-nine on the Billboard 200 albums chart. In the UK, the album was released the same week as Westlife's Coast to Coast album and the chart battle was widely reported by the media, where Westlife won the battle reaching number one in the UK, leaving the Spice Girls at number two.[85] The lead single from Forever, the double A-side "Holler"/"Let Love Lead the Way", became the group's ninth number one single in the UK.[86] However the song failed to break onto the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart stateside, instead peaking at number seven on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. "Holler" did peak at number thirty-one on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 2000. The only major performance of the lead single came at the MTV Europe Music Awards on 16 November 2000.[87] In total, Forever achieved only a fraction of the success of its two best-selling predecessors, selling five million copies.[88] In December 2000, the group unofficially announced that they were beginning an indefinite hiatus and would be concentrating on their solo careers in regards to their foreseeable future, although they pointed out that the group was not splitting.[89]

2007–08: Return of the Spice Girls and Greatest Hits

The Spice Girls performing "Spice Up Your Life" as the opening number of their Return of the Spice Girls tour, at the Air Canada Centre, in Toronto.

On 28 June 2007, the group held a press conference at The O2 Arena revealing their intention to reunite.[90] The plan to reform had long been speculated by the media,[91] but the group finally confirmed their intention to embark upon a worldwide concert tour, starting in Vancouver on 2 December 2007.[92] Filmmaker Bob Smeaton, directed an official documentary on the reunion. It was entitled Spice Girls: Giving You Everything and was first aired on Australia's Fox8 on 16 December 2007,[93] followed by BBC One in the UK, on 31 December.[94] Ticket sales for the first London date of "The Return of the Spice Girls" World Tour sold out in 38 seconds.[95] It was reported that over one million people signed up in the UK alone and over five million worldwide for the ticket ballot on the band's official website.[95] Sixteen additional dates in London had been added[96] and sold out. In the United States, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Jose shows also sold out, prompting additional dates to be added.[97] It was announced that the Spice Girls would be playing dates in Chicago and Detroit (Auburn Hills) and Boston, as well as additional dates in New York to keep up with the demand. On the first concert in Canada, they performed to an audience of 15,000 people, singing twenty songs and changing a total of eight times.[98] Along with the tour sellout, the Spice Girls licensed their name and image to Tesco's UK supermarket chain.[99]

The group's comeback single, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)", was announced as the official Children in Need charity single for 2007 and was released 5 November. The first public appearance on stage by the Spice Girls was made at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, where the group performed at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. They performed two songs, 1998 single "Stop" and the lead single from their greatest hits album, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)". The show was filmed by CBS on 15 November 2007 for broadcast on 4 December 2007.[100] They also performed the song live for the BBC Children in Need telethon on 16 November 2007 from Los Angeles, in Roberto Cavalli gowns. The release peaked at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the group's lowest charting British single to date. However, the album fared better, peaking at number two on the UK Albums Chart. On 1 February 2008, it was announced that due to personal and family commitments their tour would come to an end in Toronto on 26 February 2008, meaning that tour dates in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Cape Town and Buenos Aires were cancelled.[101] Overall, the tour produced some $107.2 million in ticket sales and merchandising, with sponsorship and ad deals bringing the total to $200 million.[102] In March 2008, the group won the coveted "Icon Awards" at the 95.8 Capital Awards; Bunton and Chisholm collected the award. In June, they captured the Glamour Award for the Best Band; Bunton, Brown and Halliwell received the award at the event. In September, the Spice Girls won the "Best Live Return Award" at the 2008 Live Vodafone Music Awards, beating acts such as Led Zeppelin and the Sex Pistols. Bunton was there to collect the award.[103]

2010–12: Viva Forever musical and London Olympics

The Spice Girls at the Viva Forever: The Musical premiere night, 2012.

In 2010, the group was nominated for a BRIT Award in the new category, "Best Performance of the 30th Year" for their 1997 Brit Awards performance of their songs, "Wannabe" and "Who Do You Think You Are". The group later won the award which was received by Halliwell and Brown. The group along with Simon Fuller also teamed with Judy Craymer and Jennifer Saunders to develop a Spice Girls musical, Viva Forever!. Although the group were not in the musical, they influenced the show's cast and production choices in a story which uses the music, similar to ABBA's music in Mamma Mia!.[104]

Two years later, in June 2012, the group reunited for the first time in four years for the press conference in London to promote the launch of Viva Forever: The Musical.[105] The press conference was held at St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, the location where the group filmed the music video for "Wannabe", sixteen years earlier, to the day.[106] In August 2012, after much speculation and anticipation from the press and the public, the group performed a medley of "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life" at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, reuniting solely for the event.[107][108] Their performance received great response from critics and audiences and became the most tweeted moment of the entire Olympics with over 116,000 tweets on Twitter per minute.[109] In December 2012, the group reunited once again for the premiere of Viva Forever: The Musical at the West End's Piccadilly Theatre.[110] In addition to the promotion of the musical, the group appeared in the documentary, Spice Girls' Story: Viva Forever! which aired on 24 December 2012 on ITV1.

2016: Spice Girls: GEM

On 8 July 2016, Mel B, Bunton, and Halliwell unveiled a new website under the name "The Spice Girls - GEM", released a short video celebrating the 20th anniversary of their first single "Wannabe", and teased upcoming news from them as a three piece.[111] Mel B later clarified that "GEM" was not a new name for the three-piece, saying "GEM is the name of our website - we’re always going to be Spice Girls. I think people are getting it a bit confused with GEM."[112] Melanie C announced that she opted not to take part in a reunion project, noting "I didn’t make the decision lightly. I did go quite far down the route with the girls. I went to a lot of meetings. But when it came to it, I just didn’t feel it was right in my gut."[113] She added that not taking part in a reunion would allow for her to spend more time with her daughter.[114] Mel B reaffirmed Melanie C's position in an interview saying, "Victoria's busy [...] Mel C's doing her own album" and noted that both Victoria and Melanie C gave the three-piece their blessing to continue with the project.[115] However, Melanie C said that things were "awkward" between her and the other girls as a result.[113] On 23 November 2016, the first release from the three-piece, "Song for Her", was leaked online.[116]

Cultural impact and legacy

Pop music scene

At a time when alternative rock, hip-hop and R&B dominated global music charts, the modern pop phenomenon that the Spice Girls created by targeting members of Generation Y was credited with changing the music landscape[117][118][119] and bringing about the global wave of late 1990s and early 2000s teen pop acts such as Hanson, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child.[120][121][122][123]

The Spice Girls have also been credited with paving the way for later girl groups.[124] In the UK, their massive success in the previously male-saturated music market[106][122] led to the the widespread formation of new girl groups including All Saints, B*Witched, Atomic Kitten and Sugababes, hoping to emulate the Spice Girls’ success.[125][126][127] 21st century girl groups, including The Pussycat Dolls,[128] 2NE1,[129] Girls' Generation,[130] Little Mix[131][132] and Fifth Harmony,[133] continue to cite the group as a major source of influence, as have female singers, including Lady Gaga,[134] Jess Glynne[135] and Carly Rae Jepsen.[136] 15-time Grammy Award winning singer Adele credits the Spice Girls as a major influence in regard to her love and passion for music, stating that "they made me what I am today".[137][138]

"Girl power"

Main article: Girl power

The phrase "girl power" put a name to a social phenomenon,[139][140] but the slogan was met with mixed reactions. The phrase was a label for the particular facet of post classical neo-feminist empowerment embraced by the band: that a sensual, feminine appearance and equality between the sexes need not be mutually exclusive. This concept was by no means original in the pop world: both Madonna and Bananarama had employed similar outlooks. The phrase itself had been used in 1987 by a London a cappella all-girl group called Mint Juleps in a song titled "Girl to the Power of 6". "Girl power" was later used in Welsh indie band Helen Love's 1993 song "Formula One Racing Girls",[141] and was the name of British pop duo Shampoo's 1995 single that was later credited by Halliwell as the inspiration for the Spice Girls' mantra.[30]

However, it was not until the emergence of the Spice Girls in 1996 with "Wannabe", that the concept of "girl power" exploded onto the common consciousness. The phrase was regularly uttered by all five members—although most closely associated with Halliwell—and was often delivered with a peace sign.[142] The slogan also featured on official Spice Girls merchandise and on some of the outfits the group members wore. The Spice Girls' version was distinctive. Its message of empowerment appealed to young girls, adolescents and adult women,[143][139] and it emphasised the importance of strong and loyal friendship among females.[144][145]

In all, the focused, consistent presentation of "girl power" formed the centrepiece of their appeal as a band.[139][146] Some commentators credit the Spice Girls with reinvigorating mainstream feminism—popularized as "girl power"—in the 1990s,[147][148] with their mantra serving as a gateway to feminism for their young fans.[145][149] On the other hand, some critics dismissed it as no more than a shallow marketing tactic, while others took issue with the emphasis on physical appearance, concerned about the potential impact on self-conscious and/or impressionable youngsters.[143] Regardless, the phrase became a cultural phenomenon,[150] adopted as the mantra for millions of girls[139][145] and even making it into the Oxford English Dictionary.[151] In summation of the concept, author Ryan Dawson said, "The Spice Girls changed British culture enough for Girl Power to now seem completely unremarkable."[14]

In 2016, the United Nations' Global Goals "#WhatIReallyReallyWant" campaign filmed a global remake of the original music video for "Wannabe"—hailed as an "iconic girl power anthem"[118][152][153]—to highlight gender inequality issues faced by women across the world.[154] The video featured British girl group M.O, Canadian viral sensation Taylor Hatala, Nigerian-British singer Seyi Shay and Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez lip-syncing to the song in various locations around the world.[155]

Cool Britannia

Halliwell wearing a replica of her iconic Union Jack dress

The term "Cool Britannia" became prominent in the media and represented the new political and social climate that was emerging with the advances made by New Labour and the new UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Coming out of a period of 18 years of Conservative government, Tony Blair and New Labour were seen as young, cool and appealing, a driving force in giving Britain a feeling of euphoria and optimism.[156]

Although by no means responsible for the onset of "Cool Britannia", the arrival of the Spice Girls added to the new image and re-branding of Britain, and underlined the growing world popularity of British, rather than American pop music. This fact was underlined at the 1997 BRIT Awards. The group won two awards[157] but it was Halliwell's now iconic red, white and blue Union Jack mini-dress that appeared in media coverage around the world and became an enduring image of "Cool Britannia".[158][54]

Fashion trends, image and nicknames

The group performing "Wannabe" at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, during The Return of the Spice Girls tour.

The image of the Spice Girls was deliberately aimed at young girls, an audience of formidable size and potential. Reinforcing the range of appeal within the target demographic were the bandmates' five divergent personalities and styles, which encouraged fans to identify with one member or another and were a departure from previous bands.[143][159] This marketing of each member's individuality was helped by the distinctive nicknames assigned to each member of the group.

The Spice Girls are credited for sparking 1990s fashion trends such as platform shoes[160][161] and double bun hairstyles.[162] They are particularly remembered for their individual trademark ensembles, in which each member had a unique, over-the-top style that served as an extension of her public persona and nickname.[163] Shortly after "Wannabe"'s release, a lunch at a Notting Hill restaurant with the editor of Top of the Pops magazine, Peter Loraine, would inadvertently lead the Spice Girls to adopt nicknames. The nicknames played a key role in their marketability and the way their international audience would identify with them.[164][165]

"In the magazine we used silly language and came up with nicknames all the time so it came naturally to give them names that would be used by the magazine and its readers; it was never meant to be adopted globally," he explains.[164]

  • Victoria Beckham: Victoria was called Posh Spice because of her more upper-middle-class background, her choppy brunette bob hairstyle and refined attitude, form-fitting designer outfits (often a little black dress) and her love of high-heeled footwear.
  • Melanie Brown: Melanie (also called Mel B) 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 Afro hair that was sometimes worn with two braided horns on the top of her head.
  • Emma Bunton: Emma was called Baby Spice because she was the youngest member of the group, wore her long blonde hair in pigtails, wore pastel (typically pink) babydoll dresses, had an innocent smile, and had a girly girl personality.
  • Melanie Chisholm: Melanie (also called Mel C) was called Sporty Spice because she usually wore a tracksuit with her long dark hair in a high ponytail and sported a tough girl attitude as well as tattoos on both of her arms. She also possessed true athletic abilities, her signature being her ability to perform back handsprings.
  • Geri Halliwell: Geri was called Ginger Spice because of her "liveliness, zest, and flaming red hair." She often wore outrageous stage outfits, as in the iconic Union Jack dress. Geri was seen by some as the de facto leader of the group thanks to her articulate conversational style and business savvy nature. She was also the eldest member of the group.

In their one-off reunion at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, the Spice Girls performed in updated high fashion versions of their signature outfits,[108] after entering the Olympic Stadium in five black cabs which lit up with LED lights, each decorated with their individual trademark emblems, (Posh: sparkling black, Sporty: racing stripes, Scary: leopard print, Baby: pink and Ginger: the Union Jack Flag).

Commercial pop

At the height of "Spice mania", the Spice Girls were involved in an unprecedented marketing phenomenon,[106][166][167] becoming the most merchandised group in music history.[168] This was even parodied in the video for their song "Spice Up Your Life", which depicts the group going around a futuristic city in a space ship surrounded by billboards and adverts featuring them. Throughout the American leg of their 1998 Spiceworld world tour, commercials were played on large concert screens before the shows and during intermissions. It was the first time advertising had been used in pop concerts and was met with mixed reactions in the music industry.[169][170][171] Nevertheless, this opened up a whole new concert revenue stream and more acts have since followed the Spice Girls' lead.

The Guardian columnist Sylvia Patterson wrote of what she called the Spice Girls' "true legacy": "[...] they were the original pioneers of the band as brand, of pop as a ruthless marketing ruse, of the merchandising and sponsorship deals that have dominated commercial pop ever since."[172] In his analysis of the group's influence on 21st century popular culture, John Mckie of BBC News noted that while other stars had used brand endorsements in the past, "the Spice brand was the first to propel the success of the band". He also noted that while modern stars have since followed suit, the Spice Girls' level of product endorsement was unlikely to ever be repeated.[143]

'90s icons

The Spice Girls have been revered as the biggest pop phenomenon of the 1990s[53][20] due to their international impact, iconic symbolism, era-defining styles and "omnipresence" in the late 1990s.[106][173][163][167]

The iconic symbolism of the Spice Girls in the 1990s is partly attributed to their memorable fashion outfits,[163] the most notable being the Union Jack dress that Halliwell wore at the 1997 Brit Awards. The dress has achieved iconic status, becoming one of the most prominent symbols of 1990s pop culture. It was sold at a charity auction to Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas for a record £41,320, giving Halliwell the Guinness World Record at that time for the most expensive piece of pop star clothing ever sold[174][175] after interest from a frenzy of bidders.[176] The dress was one of many items of Spice Girls memorabilia sold at the auction, where total sales reached £146,511 for charity.[176]

The status of the Spice Girls as 1990s pop icons is also attributed to their merchandising and willingness to be a part of a media-driven world.[143] The group advertised for many brands and were a regular feature of the global press.[167][177] Because of their frequent appearances in ads and the media, the group were inescapable at the height of "Spice mania",[106] solidifying them as a phenomenon—an icon of the decade and for British music. John Mckie of BBC News noted that, "For all that modern stars from Katy Perry to Lionel Messi exploit brand endorsements and attract tabloid coverage, the scale of the Spice Girls' breakthrough in 1996 is unlikely to be repeated—at least not by a music act."[143]

Some sources, especially those in the United Kingdom, revere the Spice Girls as "gay icons". In a survey in which more than 5,000 male and female homosexually oriented individuals from the UK had voted, Victoria Beckham placed 12th and Geri Halliwell placed 43rd in the Top 50 gay icons of all time.[178] Halliwell was also the recipient of the Honorary Gay Award at the 2016 Attitude Awards.[179] During an interview, Emma Bunton explained why the Spice Girls have so many gay fans: "We were really flattered with having such a huge gay fan base because they know about fashion and they know about songs ... I'm so flattered that we've got such a huge gay following, it's amazing."[180]

Ten years after the release of their debut single, the Spice Girls were voted the biggest cultural icons of the 1990s with 80 percent of the votes in a UK poll of 1,000 people carried out for the board game Trivial Pursuit, stating that "Girl Power" defined the decade.[181][173] The Spice Girls also ranked No. 10 in The 101 Reasons the '90s Ruled, special for TV channel E!.[182]

Portrayal in the media

The Spice Girls became media icons in Great Britain and a regular feature of the British press;[183][177] during the peak of their worldwide fame in 1997, the paparazzi were constantly seen following them everywhere,[184] to obtain stories and gossip about the group, as a supposed affair between Emma Bunton and manager Simon Fuller,[184][185] or constant split rumours[185] which became fodder for numerous tabloids.[183] Rumours of in-fighting and conflicts within the group also made headlines, especially between Geri Halliwell and Melanie Brown; the rumours suggested that they were fighting to be the leader of the group.[16] Brown, who later admitted that she used to be a "bitch" with Halliwell, said the problems had stayed in the past.[186] The rumours reached their height when the Spice Girls dismissed their manager Simon Fuller during the power struggles, with Fuller reportedly receiving a £10 million severance cheque to keep quiet about the details of his sacking.[187] Months later, in May 1998, Halliwell would leave the band in the midst of rumours of a power struggle with Brown; the news of Halliwell's departure was covered as a major news story by media around the world,[188] and became one of the biggest entertainment news stories of the year.[74]

In February 1997 at the BRIT Awards, Halliwell's Union Jack dress from the Spice Girls' live performance made all the front pages the next day. During the ceremony, Halliwell's breasts were exposed twice, causing controversy.[23] In the same year, nude glamour shots of Halliwell taken earlier in her career were released,[183] causing some scandal.[184][177] According to the group's official documentary Giving You Everything, the rest of the group had been well aware of the existence of photos, but when the photos were published they still created friction inside the group that never abated.

The stories of their encounters with other celebrities also became fodder for the press;[183][189] for example, in May 1997, at The Prince's Trust 21st anniversary concert, Mel B and Geri Halliwell breached royal protocol when they planted kisses on Prince Charles's cheeks, leaving it covered with lipstick, and later, Halliwell told him "you're very sexy" and also pinched his bottom.[190] In November, the British Royal Family were considered fans of the Spice Girls, including The Prince of Wales and his sons Prince William and Prince Harry.[191][192][193] That month, South African President Nelson Mandela said: "These are my heroes. This is one of the greatest moments in my life"[194] in an encounter organised by Prince Charles, who said, "It is the second greatest moment in my life, the first time I met them was the greatest".[194] Prince Charles would later send Halliwell a personal letter "with lots of love" when he heard that she had quit the Spice Girls.[190] In 1998 the video game magazine Nintendo Power created The More Annoying Than the Spice Girls Award, adding: "What could possibly have been more annoying in 1997 than the Spice Girls, you ask?"[195]

Victoria Adams started dating football player David Beckham in 1997 after they had met at a charity football match.[196] The couple announced their engagement in 1998[197] and were dubbed "Posh and Becks" by the media.[198]

In summation of the media interest in the Spice Girls in the late 1990s, Paul Gorman of Music Week said, "They inaugurated the era of cheesy celebrity obsession which pertains today. There is lineage from them to the Kardashianisation not only of the music industry, but the wider culture."[143]

Other brand ventures

Film

Main article: Spice World (film)
The Spice Girls' bus used in the film Spice World (1997)

In June 1997, the group began filming their movie debut with director Bob Spiers. Meant to accompany the album, the comical style and content of the movie was in the same vein as The Beatles' films in the 1960s such as A Hard Day's Night. The light-hearted comedy, intended to capture the spirit of the Spice Girls, featured a plethora of stars including Roger Moore, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Elton John, Richard O'Brien, Jennifer Saunders, Richard E. Grant, Elvis Costello, and Meat Loaf.

Released in December 1997, Spiceworld: The Movie proved to be a hit at the box office, breaking the record for the highest-ever weekend debut for Super Bowl Weekend (25 January 1998) in the US, with box office sales of $10,527,222.[199] The movie took in total $77 million at the box office worldwide,[16][200] $100 million combining cinema tickets and DVD sales,[35] including $30 million in the US and £11 million in Britain. Despite being a commercial success, the film was widely panned by critics; the movie was nominated for seven awards at the 1999 Golden Raspberry Awards where the Spice Girls collectively won the award for "Worst Actress".[201] Since 18 July 2014, The Spice Bus, which was driven by Meat Loaf in the film, is now on permanent display at the Island Harbour Marina on the Isle of Wight, England.[202]

Television

The first television special that the Spice Girls filmed was a documentary of their experiences from 1996 to 1997, titled One Hour of Girl Power.[203] Later, Girl Talk was released. It was a television special where the Spice Girls spoke individually about themselves and the group.[204] In April 1997, The Spice Girls appeared on the popular American television show Saturday Night Live,[205] singing "Wannabe" and "Say You'll Be There".[206] Later in October, the group filmed a MTV Southeast Asia Survival Guide special in Singapore.[207] In November 1997, An Audience with...The Spice Girls was screened for British channel ITV. They also sang the song "Power of Five" on the day Channel 5 launched.[208] The show attracted 11.8 million viewers in the UK, one fifth of the population.[23] In December 1997 was the release of the first US television documentary Too Much Is Never Enough, focusing on their reaction to their sudden rise to fame around the world.[209] In January 1998, the Spice Girls appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, singing two songs, followed by an interview with Oprah. That same year, the group filmed several MTV specials, including a documentary on the making of Spice World titled Spice Girls: An MTV Movie Special,[210] an episode of FANatic,[211] a Spice Girls' Favorite Video Countdown special,[212] a Wannabe a Spice Girl fan contest[213] and a documentary titled The Essential: Spice Girls.[214] In May 1998, they filmed a TFI Friday 'Spice Girls Special episode.[215]

In June 1999 the TV special, The Spice Girls in America: A Tour Story was aired. This followed the Spice Girls' exploits and adventures in America, focusing on their tour of the US,[216] and when Geri Halliwell left the Spice Girls. In November 2000, the group guest hosted the series premiere of the sixth season of TFI Friday.[217] A Spice Girls documentary was aired on MTV in August 2000, as part of the BIOrhythm biography series.[218] In December 2000, T4 aired a documentary, Spice Girls on Film, which focused on the Spice Girls' music videos.[219] This was followed by another T4 documentary in 2001, Solo Spice, which looked at the solo careers of the five Spice Girls.[220][221] ITV aired a documentary about the Spice Girls before they were famous titled Raw Spice in March 2001. The film was the subject of four-year-long legal disputes with former members of the film's production company and the Spice Girls, who tried to prevent it from being screened.[222][223] The documentary was the most-watched program of the night that it aired, drawing 9.4m viewers—almost 40% of the available audience.[224] In September 2002, T4 aired a Spice Girls documentary called Seven Days That Shook the Spice Girls.[225]. In November 2003, Melanie C and Geri appeared on the VH1 television series Behind the Music which devoted a chapter to tell the story of the Spice Girls, as well as E! True Hollywood Story, the TV documentary series on the cable network E!.

The first public appearance on stage by the 2007 Spice Girls Reunion was made at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, where the group performed at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. They performed two songs, 1998 single "Stop" and the lead single from their greatest hits album, "Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)". The show was filmed by CBS on 15 November 2007 for broadcast on 4 December 2007,[100] the show attracts averaged 7.4 million total viewers.[226] In December 2007, the official documentary, Spice Girls: Giving You Everything that made its world première in Australia on FOX8, It aired in Canada on 19 December 2007 (on the CTV), and on the BBC in the United Kingdom on 31 December 2007. The film features narrative insight and commentary from the five girls themselves. The title of the documentary comes from chorus lyrics from their UK No. 1 single "Say You'll Be There". The documentary attracted 3.6 million viewers in the UK.[227]

Viva Forever: The Musical

A jukebox musical written by Jennifer Saunders, produced by Judy Craymer and directed by Paul Garrington. Based on the songs of the Spice Girls, the show began previews at the Piccadilly Theatre, London on 27 November 2012 and had its Press Night on 11 December 2012 and features some of the group's biggest hit songs including "Wannabe", "Spice Up Your Life" and the eponymous "Viva Forever".

Merchandise and sponsorship deals

In 1997, the band was involved in a prolific merchandising phenomenon.[166][167] With the official Spice Girls branding on hundreds of different products,[228][229][143] they became the most merchandised group in music history.[168] The Spice Girls brand produced over £300 million worldwide through merchandise in 1997.[230] Globally, the group's total grosses are estimated to have been $500–800 million by May 1998.[16]

During the summer of 1997, the group was criticised for "selling out" to worldwide brands, being accused of overexposure and signing too many sponsorship contracts with large corporate businesses.[64] The group responded to the press' criticisms by launching the music video for "Spice Up Your Life" in which they parody the number of sponsorships they had.

  • McLaren: The Spice Girls were booked to help launch the West McLaren Mercedes MP4/12 at London’s Alexandra Palace on 13 February 1997. They performed Wannabe, Say You'll Be There and Who Do You Think You Are to an assembled audience of five thousand, comprising media, sponsors, VIP guests and fans. The event was filmed by MTV and presented by Davina McCall.[231]
  • Channel 5: The girls appeared in promotional print ads,[232] recorded a song ("1,2,3,4,5!"), filmed a music video and launched Britain's fifth terrestrial television network in March 1997,[233] for a reported fee of £500,000 (US$1 million).[106][234]
  • Pepsi Cola: In May 1997, the Spice Girls signed a multimillion-pound endorsement deal with Pepsi[166] to launch the "generation next" campaign. 92 million promotional Pepsi cans and bottles featuring the girls individually or as a group were produced worldwide.[235][236] Promotional giveaways included collectible drinking glasses and two limited edition music singles, "Step to Me" and "Move Over (Generation Next)".[237] The girls starred in three television adverts for Pepsi,[237] all featuring the song Move Over,[238] that were aired on TV and in cinemas worldwide.[106][234] In October 1997, the girls performed two live concerts in Istanbul sponsored by the soft drink company,[237] with tickets available exclusively through a Pepsi offer.[106] The Spice Girls' "generation next" campaign led to a record five percent gain in the cola market share for Pepsi in 1997[106][235][236] and the endorsement deal was extended in November 1997 for an additional £500,000 (US$1 million).[239]
  • Magic Box Toys: In mid 1997, the toy company created the first Spice Girls collectible photocard series.[240] The series consisted of an official photo album and 120 individual and group photos from concerts, photoshoots, studio portraits, family albums and more. They were released in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australasia. It was estimated by Forbes that 25 million cards had been sold by September 1997.[106] In late 1997, a second photocard series was released, along with an official Spice World: The Movie sticker book which consisted of 230 stickers both from the movie set and the movie itself.[241]
  • Walkers Crisps: In July 1997, the girls began an endorsement deal with Walkers Crisps. Under this deal, the girls were featured on over 51 different crisps packets– 10 for each member plus a group package. They also starred in two television adverts and a number of promotional photoshoots for the British potato chip maker. Walkers Crisps reported a six percent increase in the brand's volume share of the crisp market within the first eight weeks of the Spice campaign.[106]
  • Polaroid: In the summer of 1997, Polaroid signed a deal with the girls to produce the Polaroid Spice Cam 600 Instant Film Camera, a Spice Girls-branded pink-and-purple variation of the original Polaroid 600 Instant Camera. The Spice Cam was Polaroid's first camera to be named after a group or person,[242] and featured a Spice Cam logo and a Spice Girls sticker set. Also produced were Spice Girls-branded disposable Polaroid cameras and flashlights.[243] In August 1997, each of the girls filmed a television advert promoting new types of Polaroid film (i.e. black & white, writable, etc.), in addition to making a group advert and conducting a number of promotional Polaroid photoshoots. The Spice Cam was marketed in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.[244]
  • Impulse: In August 1997, the Spice Girls launched a fragrance known as "Impulse Spice", with a scent that was meant to reflect each individual member of the band. Limited edition deodorant body spray and shower gel products were produced. A television advert was also filmed for the product.[106]
  • ASDA Supermarkets: In September 1997, British supermarket chain ASDA signed a £1 million (US$2 million) [245] merchandising deal to launch a wide range of Spice Girls products for the 1997 Christmas season. Over 40 different Spice Girls branded goods were stocked including food, clothing, gifts, stationary, party supplies, Christmas crackers, individual pizzas with each band member representing a different flavour, homewear, books, videos, platform shoes and even Spice Girl branded Kids Meals Boxes in the stores' restaurants.[106] The deal was promoted in Asda’s pre-Christmas television and print advertising campaign.[106][246]
  • PMS International: In September 1997, it was announced that the Spice Girls had signed a licensing deal with merchandising company PMS International to produce a wide range of official Spice Girls products.[228] Over 200 separate Spice Girls items were released including stationery, toys, lunch boxes, bags, purses, party goods, clothing, mugs, cosmetics, postcards, picture frames, keyrings and badges, all in the Spice Girls official colours of magenta and white. Upon the release of Spice World, movie memorabilia was also produced, including toy versions of the Spice Bus.[34][229]
  • Cadbury Chocolate: A range of Spice Girls-branded Cadbury chocolate products was distributed in various countries including the UK and Canada from 1997 to 1998. The range consisted of 10 chocolate countlines, assorted boxes and holiday confectioneries including Easter eggs, featuring the girls individually or as a group.[168]
  • Chupa Chups: In October 1997, it was announced that the Spice Girls had signed a deal with Chupa Chups to release a range of Spice Girls Chupa Chups products in countries all around the world. Different tins filled with assorted lollipops featuring a different girl were among the many products released, but the most widely produced was the "Fantasy Ball" Chupa Chups with six different packages each featuring a collectible Spice Girl sticker. Other products included Push Pops, Crazy Dips, toy microphones and bubblegum packets that came with collectible Spice Girls temporary tattoos.[247]
  • Galoob Toys/Hasbro: Nine different sets of Spice Girls dolls were released by Galoob Toys (now Hasbro) from 1997 to 1999.[248] They became a huge hit during the Christmas seasons, selling over 11 million.[249][250] The dolls were the fifth best-selling toy– despite limited stock– in the UK for the 1997 Christmas season according to the British Association of Toy Retailers' annual Christmas best seller chart,[251] and the second best-selling toy of 1998 in the United States according to toy trade publication Playthings' annual industry survey.[252]
  • Toymax/Street Life: Three different sets of Spice Girls singing and talking dolls were released by Toymax/Street Life from 1998 to 1999.[248]
  • PlayStation: Spice World, a video game featuring computer-animated cartoons of the girls was developed and released by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe for the PlayStation in 1998.[253]
  • Aprilia Scooters: In early 1998, the Spice girls signed a sponsorship deal for a 1998 world tour with the Italian scooter maker. As part of the deal, 5 different "Spice Sonic" scooters– each promoting a Spice Girl– were created and marketed. The girls also participated in a promotional photoshoot and filmed a television advert to promote the scooters. However, relations soured between the group and the Italian company after Halliwell's sudden departure in May 1998. In January 2002, after losing a long-running legal dispute, the group was ordered to pay $67,000 for scooters Aprilia supplied to the band members, in addition to damages and legal costs.[254]
  • Domino Sugar: The girls promoted the sugar with a sponsor of their North American tour, with clips being played before shows and during intermission on video screens.
  • Target Stores: The American discount retailer was one of the largest suppliers of official Spice Girls merchandise in the United States and Australia, usually devoting an aisle to products such as bikes, school supplies, party supplies, and toys.
  • PTI Holding Inc.: In August 1998, the bicycle company signed an exclusive agreement to manufacturer and distribute Spice Girls bicycles, helmets, in- line skates and bicycle accessory products for North America. The company received over $3 million in pre-order commitments on the day the deal was announced, and began shipping products during the fourth quarter for Christmas 1998.[255]
  • Victoria's Secret: In October 2007, it was announced that the Spice Girls had signed a deal with the lingerie chain. Under the deal, the group's greatest hits album was exclusively sold in the United States through Victoria's Secret for the first two months of its release.[256] The girls also performed at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show later that year.[257]
  • Tesco: The British supermarket chain recruited the Spice Girls to front a two-part Christmas television ad campaign in 2007, in a deal that reportedly earned each girl £1 million (US$2 million).[99]

Career records and achievements

As a group, the Spice Girls received several awards including five BRIT Awards, three American Music Awards, three MTV Europe Music Awards, one MTV Video Music Awards and three World Music Awards. They have sold 85 million records worldwide,[8][10] achieving certified sales of 13 million albums in Europe,[46] 14 million records in the US[48] and 2.4 million in Canada.[61] The group achieved the highest debut for a UK group on the Billboard Hot 100 at number five with "Say You'll Be There". They are also the first British band since The Rolling Stones in 1975 to have two albums in the US Billboard 200 albums chart at the same time (Spice and Spiceworld).[258] In addition to this, the Spice Girls also achieved the highest ever annual earnings by an all-female group in 1998 with an income of £29.6 million (approximately US$49 million).[259]

Cabs carrying the Spice Girls at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.

They produced a total of nine number one singles in the UK—tied with ABBA behind Take That (eleven), The Shadows (twelve), Madonna (thirteen), Westlife (fourteen), Cliff Richard (fourteen), The Beatles (seventeen) and Elvis Presley (twenty-one). The group had three consecutive Christmas number one singles in the UK ("2 Become 1", 1996; "Too Much", 1997; "Goodbye", 1998); they only share this record with The Beatles.[260] Their first single, "Wannabe", is the most successful song released by an all-female group.[34][174] Debuting on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 11, it is also the highest-ever debut by a British band 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, tying with Alanis Morissette.[23]

Spice is the 18th biggest-selling album of all time in the UK with over 3 million copies sold, and topped the charts for 15 non-consecutive weeks, the most by a female group in the UK.[44] It is also the biggest-selling album of all time by a girl group, with sales of 28 million copies worldwide.[7][23][51][52] Spiceworld shipped 7 million copies in just two weeks, including 1.4 million in Britain alone—the largest-ever shipment of an album over 14 days.[261] They are also the first act (and so far only female act) to have their first six singles ("Wannabe", "Say You'll Be There", "2 Become 1", "Mama"/"Who Do You Think You Are", "Spice Up Your Life" and "Too Much") make number one on the UK charts. (Their run was broken by "Stop", which peaked at number two in March 1998.)

Spiceworld: The Movie broke the record for the highest-ever weekend debut a film on Super Bowl weekend (25 January 1998) in the US, with box office sales of $10,527,222.[199] Spiceworld: The Movie topped the UK video charts on its first week of release, selling over 55,000 copies on its first day in stores and 270,000 copies in the first week.[262][263] The Return of the Spice Girls Tour was announced as the highest-grossing concert act of 2008, netting £16.5 million (US$33 million) for the band.[264] In total, the tour took more than $70 million,[265] and produced $107.2 million in ticket sales and merchandising.[102]

Discography

Concert tours

See also

References

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  2. ^ Jeffrey, Don (8 February 1997). Girl Power! Spice Girls. Billboard. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  3. ^ "Mel B: The Spice girls are back ... and we're writing new songs". Mirror. Retrieved 2016-05-11. 
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  19. ^ Sherrie A. Inness (1998). "Millennium Girls: Today's Girls Around the World". p.115. & Littlefield,
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  28. ^ Sinclair, p. 33.
  29. ^ Sinclair, p. 34.
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  33. ^ McGibbon, 1997. pp. 124–125.
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Book references

  • Hardy, Phil. The Faber Companion to 20th century Popular Music (Faber and Faber, 2001) ISBN 0-571-19608-X
  • Larkin, Colin. The Virgin Encyclopaedia of Popular Music (4th ed.) (Virgin Books, 2003.) ISBN 1-85227-923-0
  • McGibbon, Rob (1997). Spice Power: The Inside Story. Macmillan Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0752211420. 
  • Sinclair, David. Wannabe: How the Spice Girls Reinvented Pop Fame (Omnibuss Press, 2004)

External links