Spice Girls

Spice Girls
an English pop group consisting of young women who sing and dance. The media often distinguish between them by using a different adjective for each, e.g. ‘Sporty Spice’ and ‘Posh Spice’. The group’s first five records, released in 1996 and 1997, were all No 1 hits, including Wannabe, Say You’ll Be There and 2 Become 1. One of the Spice Girls, Geri Halliwell (known as ‘Ginger Spice’), left the group in 1998. Their last album, Forever, was released in 2000. Since then they have been less active as a band, although each has recorded solo albums. At the height of their popularity they often appeared in British tabloid newspapers and on television, sometimes talking about their philosophy of ‘girl power’, the idea that women should have a strong attitude about their identity, support each other and enjoy themselves. ‘Posh Spice’ (Victoria Beckham, born Victoria Adams) is the wife of English footballer David Beckham.

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▪ 1998

      The British pop phenomenon Spice Girls made music history in 1997 by becoming the first group to have its first four singles hit the number one spot on the British charts. The group (sometimes referred to as a cross between Madonna and the Monkees) took Great Britain, North America, and the Far East by storm in a way not seen since the Beatles, and their contrived but catchy dance-bop songs reached number one on the music charts in more than 30 countries.

      Responding to a 1994 advertisement in The Stage for a "manufactured" female pop group, wannabe singers Geri Halliwell, Mel Brown, Mel Chisholm, Victoria Addams, and Michelle Stephenson won the open audition and worked so well together that they became housemates. Their talent scout-managers reportedly wanted them to look, dress, and act alike, but the girls' shared credo of "Girl Power," along with their boundless energy and more than a modicum of talent, led them to fire their original managers and hire a new manager, who signed them up with Virgin Records. Stephenson was replaced by Emma Bunton, and when the Spice Girls were teamed with songwriter-producers Richard Stannard and Matthew Rowe, the resulting album, Spice, and the songs "Wannabe," "2 Become 1," and "Mama" propelled them into pop music mythology. In 1997 the group won two BRIT Awards for best single ("Wannabe") and best video ("Say You'll Be There"), a World Music Award as best newcomer, and the MTV music television award for best dance video ("Wannabe"). They also signed a lucrative deal to appear in a Pepsi Cola ad campaign and released a book, Girl Power!, and a new album, Spice World. The motion picture Spice World was filmed during the summer for release at Christmas. In all, it was estimated that the group earned more than £30 million in 1997.

      Each girl established a unique style and persona, and the group's millions of fans worldwide eagerly gleaned every fact about their idols from Web sites, fan clubs, and the thousands of articles in publications ranging from the frivolous to the serious. Geraldine Estelle Halliwell (b. Aug. 6, 1972, Watford, Eng.), known as Ginger Spice because of her hair colour, was a former aerobics instructor and TV game-show host. Melanie Jayne Chisholm (b. Jan. 12, 1974, Liverpool, Eng.), who answered to Mel C. or Sporty Spice, had a dance background and a penchant for association football (soccer) and sports gear. Cool, unsmiling Posh Spice was Victoria Addams (b. April 7, 1975, Hertfordshire, Eng.), a former dancer and actress. Melanie Janine Brown (b. May 29, 1975, Yorkshire, Eng.), or Mel B., was a drummer, dancer, and actress whose unusual clothing, supercurly hair, and body piercings prompted the moniker Scary Spice. Aptly named Baby Spice, Emma Lee Bunton (b. Jan. 21, 1976, London), was the youngest, renowned for her perilously high platform shoes and blonde babydoll looks.


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▪ British musical group
      British pop group whose infectious dance songs dominated the global charts in the late 1990s. They cultivated a playful sex appeal under the banner of “Girl Power” to create a feminist alternative to the boy bands of the day. The band's members were Ginger Spice (byname of Geraldine Estelle Halliwell; b. Aug. 6, 1972, Watford, Eng.), Sporty Spice (byname of Melanie Jayne Chisholm; b. Jan. 12, 1974, Liverpool, Eng.), Posh Spice (byname of Victoria Addams [later Victoria Beckham]; b. April 7, 1975, Hertfordshire, Eng.), Scary Spice (byname of Melanie Janine Brown; b. May 29, 1975, Yorkshire, Eng.), and Baby Spice (byname of Emma Lee Bunton; b. Jan. 21, 1976, London, Eng.).

      The group was formed when Halliwell, Brown, Chisholm, Bunton, and Addams responded to a 1993 advertisement in a trade magazine for a “manufactured” female pop group. The five, who had backgrounds in dance and acting, were chosen from the hundreds of women who auditioned, and they worked so well together that they became housemates. Personality conflicts led them to break with their original manager, a decision that united them and signaled the first stirrings of the “Girl Power” ethic. The group was signed to Virgin Records in 1995, but a lack of effective management hampered the band's development. The Spice Girls' first single, "Wannabe," was finally released in July 1996. It soared to the top of the British pop charts, and it held that position for most of the summer. Around this time, an article in Top of the Pops magazine anointed the women Ginger, Sporty, Posh, Scary, and Baby, and the names were embraced by the band, its fans, and the media. "Wannabe" went on to hit number one in some 30 countries, and the music video that accompanied the song made the Spice Girls an international sensation. The follow-up single, "Say You'll Be There," paved the way for the band's debut album, Spice (1996), which sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

      In 1997 the Spice Girls made their debut in the United States, quickly establishing dominance over the Billboard singles and album charts. In March of that year, the band published Girl Power!, a collection of photographs, lyrics, and biographical snippets. The group's second full-length album, Spiceworld, accompanied Spice World: The Movie in late 1997. While the film was greeted with a harsh critical reception, fans filled the theatres and made it a minor box-office success.

      By the beginning of 1998, however, the Spice Girls' fortunes began to wane. The celebrity power of individual members took precedence over the group's music, a fact that became apparent when Posh announced her engagement to association football (soccer) star David Beckham (Beckham, David). Ginger left the group in the middle of the Spiceworld tour in May 1998, and Posh became a fixture in tabloids and fashion magazines after she married Beckham in 1999. The Spice Girls' final album, ironically titled Forever, was released in 2000. It peaked at number two on the British charts, but it barely entered the Billboard Top 40. In February 2001 the band officially broke up, and the individual members pursued solo projects. Rumours of a reunion circulated for some years, and in June 2007 the Spice Girls announced that Ginger, Sporty, Posh, Scary, and Baby would once again take the stage for a world tour. The three-month tour ended in early 2008.

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Universalium. 2010.

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