The Spice Girls are a pop phenomenon which started in the mid nineties and went on to influence more artists and groups who became part of the same genre. They formed back in 1994, released their first single in 1996, and from then they would become one of the biggest recording acts of all time.
It was March of 1993 and auditions were being held for an all girl group. The ads asked for girls between the ages of 18-23 who were streetwise, outgoing, ambitious and determined, and also possessed the ability to sing and dance. There were hundreds of girls who responded to the ads, but after it all, the applicants were cut down to five girls: Geri Halliwell, Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, and Michelle Stephenson. They would form the new all girl group Touch. Due to commitment issues, Michelle had to leave during the first recording sessions that the group had in June. She was replaced by Emma Bunton, recommended by her singing tutor. From that point until March 1994, the girls lived in a small house in Maidenhead where they worked on demos and practiced their dance routines. After successful performances and showcases, they decided to drop their management and seeked the help of Sheffield based producer Eliot Kennedy. By this point, they had already named themselves the Spice Girls. In March of 1995 they signed with Simon Fuller of 19 Management, and in September of 1995, they signed with Virgin Records.
On July 8th, 1996, their first single was released. It was the song Wannabe, and the video for the song would be released weeks later. The song and video found great success in the U.K The song entered the charts at #3, and moved to the top spot the following week. (The song also debuted on the difficult US charts at #11) In November of 1996, their first album Spice was released in Europe. In the first 7 weeks, the album sold 1.8 million copies in Britain alone, and sold in total 8 million copies. In the US, Spice sold 7 million copies, and was the biggest selling album of 1997. It peaked at #1 on the charts. They followed up their first single with Say You’ll Be There in October and 2 Become 1 in December. They soon became the biggest pop act on the planet.
In November 1997, the group released their follow up album Spiceworld, which also served as the soundtrack to their movie. The first single was the song Spice Up Your Life, and after that was released, the album hit stores and became a huge hit. It was an instant global bestseller. Spiceworld set a new record for the fastest selling album when it shipped 7 million copies in just 2 weeks. Spiceworld went to sell over 10 million copies in Europe, Canada, and America alone, though it failed to match the success of their first album Spice. The album was criticized for being released only nine months after the first album. Not to mention the girls were suffering from over-exposure at home. The group was suffering from media backlash and suffered decrease on the international charts. But the Spice Girls were still the biggest selling act of 1997 and 1998.
Besides being huge pop stars, the girls became movie stars in their own right. In June 1997, the girls first, and only, movie, Spiceworld, directed by Fawlty Towers director Bob Spiers, began filming. It was released in January 1998. While it did not find success or recognition with the critics, the movie itself went on to gross over $70 million worldwide. However, it was nominated for 7 Golden Raspberry Awards in 1999.
The Spice Girls fired manager Simon Fuller in November 7, 1997, and began to manage themselves by splitting duties throughout the group. Unable to handle this, they later build their own team to deal with their affairs. It was headed by Nancy Phillips. And only 3 months after firing Fuller, the girls embarked on their 97 world date tour covering Europe and North America. The Spiceworld Tour kicked off in Dublin, Ireland on February 24, 1998. But Geri Halliwell failed to make appearances at a few of the shows and other appearances. Rumors began to spread that she had left the band.
But it was on May 31, 1998 that Ginger Spice announced that she was leaving the Spice Girls. She went on to pursue a solo career. She said she was suffering from exhaustion, but rumors went around saying that she had a falling out with one of the other girls (said to be Melanie B, aka Scary Spice). The departure of Geri Halliwell became a shocking international story and one of the biggest entertainment stories of the year. After her leave, the four remaining girls had to carry on. But plans for the group were falling through. The remaining went on to record one last album.
In November 2000, the Spice Girl’s last album, Forever, was released. It received a lukewarm response, and it failed to match the success of its predecessors. The poor success of the album is credited to the fact that the girls did little to promote the album, and they made very few appearances. The girl’s last appearance together was in November 2000, though never actually formally disbanded. The all went their separate ways to work towards their own solo careers. Since their breakup, there has been speculation on the girls getting back together, but nothing has come to.
The Spice Girls remain one of the biggest icons of the 1990’s, and their message of “Girl Power!” has been stated to define the decade. The group has been credited with bringing music to a younger marker, mostly pre-teen girls. Since the split, media coverage has said that since none of the girls found as much success as with the group, reports say that they will get back together. With their 10th anniversary, there are rumors for a comeback for a tour or maybe a greatest hits album. Only time will tell.