The Spice Girls are a British
all-female pop group, formed in London in 1994. The Spice Girls,
consisting of Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie
Chisholm and Geri Halliwell, signed to Virgin Records and released their
debut single, "Wannabe", in 1996. The song went on to spend seven weeks at
the top of the UK Singles Chart and helped establish the group as an
"international phenomenon". They went on to release three studio albums
and ten singles, selling in excess of 55 million records worldwide.
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, aliases which were adopted by the group and media alike.
According to biographer David Sinclair, "Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh and
Sporty were the most widely recognised group of individuals since John,
Paul, George and Ringo", and the group was "a social phenomenon that
changed the course of popular music and popular culture".
The members went their separate ways at the end of 2000 (although a
break-up was never formally announced) to focus on their solo careers. On
June 28, 2007 they reformed as a quintet and in November 2007 a Greatest
Hits album was released to accompany the group's current World Tour.
In early 1990s, father-and-son management team Chris and Bob Herbert set
about creating an all female group that could compete with the onslaught
of equally popular boy bands that dominated the pop music scene in the
early to mid 1990s: "the whole teen-band scene at the time was saturated
by boy bands. It was all clones of New Kids on the Block and Take That.
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". In February 1994, Heart Management – which comprised the
Herberts together with financier Chic Murphy – placed an advertisement in
The Stage trade magazine asking "R U 18-23 with the ability to sing/dance?
R U streetwise, ambitious, outgoing and dedicated?" Hundreds of girls
responded and the applicants were whittled down to a final five that
included Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell
and Michelle Stephenson. The group was given the name "Touch" and moved
into a house together in Maidenhead, Berkshire, (owned by Murphy) where
they were subsidised by Heart Management and each was claiming
During the first two months the group worked on demos and dance routines
at the Trinity Studios in Woking. According to Stephenson, the material
the group was given was "very, very young pop" and included the song
"We’re Gonna Make It Happen", a record that never came to light. It soon
became apparent that Stephenson did not have the drive and belief that the
rest of the group had, so the decision was made to fire her from the
group. Bob Herbert stated that "she just wasn't fitting in...she would
never have gelled with it and I had to tell her to go". However,
Stephenson stated it was her decision to leave the group because of the
illness of her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Victoria
later dismissed this claim saying she "just couldn't be arsed" to put in
the work the rest of the group was doing. The Herberts searched for a
replacement and first came across Abigail Kas, who did not impress, and
then were led to eighteen-year-old Emma Bunton at the suggestion of vocal
coach Pepe Lemer. Bunton instantly impressed the Herberts and was invited
to meet the group in July 1994, who welcomed her with open arms: "Straight
away I knew she was the one", stated Halliwell.
After Bunton joined the girls there was growing discontent amongst the
group with the management team. The group felt insecure about the lack of
a contract and were frustrated by the direction in which Heart Management
was steering them. 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 in Shepherds Bush where they
received an "overwhelmingly positive" reaction. Due to the large interest
in the group, the Herberts quickly set about creating a binding contract
for the group. Encouraged by the reaction they had received at the Nomis
showcase the five girls delayed signing contracts on the legal advice
from, amongst others, Victoria's father Tony Adams. In March 1995, because
of the group's frustration at their management's unwillingness to listen
to their visions and ideas, they parted from Heart Management. In what
biographer David Sinclair calls an "incredibly self-serving and underhand"
ploy, the group stole the master recordings of their discography from the
management offices in order to ensure they kept control of their own work.
That same day the girls tracked down Sheffield-based producer Eliot
Kennedy, who had been present at the showcase, and persuaded him to work
with the group.
In October 1994, armed with a catalogue of demos and dance routines, the
group began touring management agencies. The group was introduced to
record producers Absolute, who in turn brought them to the attention of
Simon Fuller of 19 Management. The girls began a relationship with Fuller
and finally signed with him in March 1995. During the summer of that year
the group toured record labels in London and Los Angeles with Fuller and
finally signed a deal with Virgin Records in September 1995. From this
point up to the summer of 1996 the girls continued to write and record
tracks for their debut album while extensively touring the west coast of
America, where they had signed a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific.
On June 28, 2007 the group held a press conference at The O2 in London,
formally announcing their intention to reunite. The plan to reform had
long been speculated by the media, but the group now confirmed their
intention to embark upon a world wide concert tour, starting in Vancouver
on December 2, 2007. The tour was intended to support the November release
of their Greatest Hits. In addition, filmmaker Bob Smeaton will direct an
official documentary on the reunion. It is entitled Spice Girls: Giving
You Everything and will be aired on BBC One.
Ticket sales for the first London date of "The Return of the Spice Girls"
World Tour sold out in 38 seconds. 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. Sixteen additional dates in
London had been added and have since sold out. In America, the Las Vegas,
Los Angeles and San Jose shows also sold out, prompting additional dates
to be added. It was announced that the Spice Girls would be playing dates
in Chicago and Detroit(Auburn Hills) & Boston, as well as additional dates
in New York to keep up with the demand.
Along with the current tour sell-out, the Spice Girls have licensed their
name and image to Tesco's UK supermarket chain. The band have reportedly
been paid £5 million for their appearances in Tesco advertisements.
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 off their greatest hits album,
"Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)". The show was filmed by CBS on
November 15, 2007 for broadcast on December 4, 2007. They also performed
the song live for the BBC Children in Need telethon on November 16, 2007
from Los Angeles, in elegant Roberto Cavalli gowns. The release peaked at
number 11 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the groups lowest charting
British single to date. However the album faired better, peaking at number
two on the UK Albums Chart behind Leona Lewis' record breaking debut.
Australia was the only country for the album to debut and reach number 1.
This is the first Spice Girls album to reach number 1 in Australia. To
date, their Greatest Hits album has been declared platinum in Australia
and the UK, and Gold in New Zealand.