THE SPICE GIRLS
LATEST NEWS: LONDON, United Kingdom 28 June 2007
The Spice Girls wannabe stars again. Following a calculated publicity buildup, the original Girl Power group of the 1990s announced Thursday they had agreed to get together for 11 concerts around the world in December and January.
The shows will be their first concerts since breaking up in 2001, and the first with all five of the original group since Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell quit to pursue a solo career in 1998.
British girl band The Spice Girls (from left) Victoria Beckham, Melanie Chisholm, Gerri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Melanie Brown pose for the media as they arrive at the Greenwich Royal Observatory in London on Thursday
"Imagine you got divorced and you've got back together with your ex-husband," Halliwell said, explaining how she felt about the reunion. "She just appreciates the fact we've let her back in," joked Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham.
The group said the shows would be in Los Angeles on Dec. 7; Las Vegas on Dec. 8; New York on Dec. 11; London on Dec. 15; Cologne, Germany, on Dec. 20; Madrid, Spain, on Dec. 23; Beijing on Jan. 10; Hong Kong on Jan. 12; Sydney, Australia, on Jan. 17; Cape Town, South Africa, on Jan. 20; and Buenos Aires, Argentina on Jan. 24.
Halliwell and Beckham joined with Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm, Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton and Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown to pose for photos and announce tour plans. "We wanted to say thank you to our fans. It just feels very right for us," Chisholm said.
"Obviously it's nostalgic. But equally, if new fans want to come along, that's fantastic," Halliwell said. "I like to think our songs are universal and they are timeless." Fans stood outside the news conference, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Spice Girls.
"We found out about this going on and we decided to take a trip," said Nicola Seodon, 21, a shop worker, who traveled the 20 miles from Dartford to London. "I was a big Spice Girls fan when I was 10 years old. I'll definitely buy their album and I never got to see a concert when they were still around, so this will be a great chance," she said.
The Spice Girls' first single, "Wannabe," was released in 1996 and topped charts in 31 countries. They went on to sell more than 55 million records. But their last album, "Forever," released in 2000 and without Halliwell, fared poorly.
You could now call them the Spice Mums. Beckham said the tour would be designed to accommodate the band members' seven children. And Bunton is now pregnant with her first child. "Our priority is going to be our families. We want to have fun," said Beckham, who has three sons with her husband, soccer star David Beckham. "That's one of the many reasons for this, for our children to see what we used to do. And I may be the cool one in the family for once."
EMI said it plans to release the first Spice Girls greatest-hits album in November. The group also plans to make their first official documentary for TV broadcast. "It's going to be the most honest story that you've ever heard," Halliwell said. "You get to see the dark side of the Spice Girls, the gritty side, the tears."
Spice Girls on the cover of their hit single "Spice Up Your Life"
The Spice Girls were an all female pop group who formed in 1994 in London, UK. After releasing their debut single, "Wannabe," in 1996 the group went to become a major pop phenomenon then went their separate ways.
Selling in excess of 55 million records, the group is the biggest selling female group of the 20th century. They released three studio albums and ten singles - and even starred in their own film, Spiceworld: The Movie, which grossed $75 million (US) at the box office.
In March 1994 advertisements were placed in The Stage newspaper asking: "R U 18-23 with the ability to sing/dance? R U streetwise, ambitious, outgoing and determined?". Hundreds of girls responded to the ads. The applicants were whittled down to a final five which consisted of Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Brown, Victoria Adams and Michelle Stephenson, who combined to form an all female group called "Touch." In June, during the groups first recording session, Michelle Stephenson was forced to leave due to commitment issues. She was replaced by Emma Bunton after Bunton's singing tutor had recommended her to the other girls.
From this point up to March 1995 the girls lived together in a small house in Maidenhead where they worked on demos and practiced dance routines. After a successful showcase performance for music critics and producers in October, the group decided to fire their original management, who they cited as controlling and too domineering. That same day, the girls tracked down Sheffield-based producer Eliot Kennedy and persuaded him to work with the group (by then renamed the Spice Girls) over the course of the next year.
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 and finally signed a deal with Virgin Records in September 1995. From this point up to the summer of 1996, the Spice 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.
The single Goodbye became the group's third consecutive
Christmas number one
On July 8, 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 Jhoan Camitz and shot in April at St Pancras Station in London), had dominated the music channels. The song entered the charts at #3 before moving up to #1 the following week and staying there for 7 weeks. The song proved to be a global hit - hitting #1 in 31 countries and became not only the biggest selling single by an all female group, but also the biggest selling debut single of all time. "Wannabe" also proved to be a catalyst in helping the Spice Girls break the notoriously difficult U.S. market when it debuted on the Hot 100 Chart at #11. At the time, this was the highest ever debut by a British act, beating the record previously held by The Beatles for "I Want To Hold Your Hand" at #12.
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 7 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 over 3 million copies in Britain and peaked at #1 for 15 non-consecutive weeks. In Europe, the album became the biggest selling album of 1997 and was certified 8xPlatinum by the IFPI for sales in excess of 8 million copies. In the United States, Spice became the biggest selling album of 1997, peaking at #1 and being certified 7xPlatinum (for sales of over 7 million) by the RIAA.
Riding a wave of publicity and hype, the group followed the single "Wannabe" up quickly by releasing "Say You'll Be There" in October and "2 Become 1" in December. The two tracks continued the group's remarkable sales by topping the charts in over 53 countries and cementing the groups reputation as the biggest pop act on the planet.
5 Become 4
On May 31, 1998, Geri Halliwell announced her departure from the Spice Girls. Through her solicitor, Julian Turton, she issued the following statement: "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... PS, I'll be back." Halliwell claimed that she was suffering from exhaustion and wanted to take time out. However, rumours persisted that she had fallen out with one of the other girls (reportedly Melanie B). Although this has never been confirmed, the biographies of Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, and Melanie B all hint that this was the case. Geri’s departure from the group shocked fans and became one of the biggest entertainment news stories of the year, making news headlines the world over. The four remaining girls were adamant though that the group would carry on and that their approaching North American tour would continue as normal.
The Spice Girls Rolling Stones Magazine
Geri Halliwell's departure threw most of the groups plans into disarray. It was cited as the reason the planned live album was cancelled. It also meant that most of the material the girls had recorded throughout the first half of 1998 at Dublin's Windmill Lane Studios with long time collaborators Richard Stannard and Matt Rowe was eventually scrapped. A rumoured animated venture by Disney also failed to materialize.
The Spice Girls first release as a foursome was "Viva Forever," the last single taken off Spiceworld. The video for the single was made before Geri's departure and features the girls in animated form – a decision made because there was no time to produce a video due to the heavy world tour schedule. Originally planned as a double A-side with "Never Give Up On The Good Times," the idea was dropped for several reasons, mainly due to time restraints (since there was no time to re-record and edit out Geri's vocals or make a video for the track). Whilst on tour in America the group continued to record new material and they released the new song "Goodbye" at Christmas 1998. Written before her departure, the song was nevertheless seen as a tribute to Geri and when it topped the British chart it became their third consecutive Christmas number one – equalling the record previously set by The Beatles. The song also became one of the most successful songs of the 1990s in Canada, where it stayed at number one for 16 weeks.
In November 2000 The Spice Girls released their new album, Forever. Sporting a new edgier R&B sound, the album received a lukewarm response and achieved only a fraction of the success of its two best selling predecessors. In the US it peaked at number thirty-nine on the Billboard 200 albums chart. In 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. In the end Westlife, whom had embarked on a massive promotional tour, outsold The Spice Girls by a margin of three to one to take the top spot. The lead single from the album, the double A-side "Holler" / "Let Love Lead The Way", did have some success – it became the groups ninth number one single in UK. However, the song failed to break onto the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, instead peaking at number seven on the Bubbling Under chart.
Many credit the low success of the album down to the fact the group did very little promotion in the run up it to its worldwide release. The only major performance of the lead single came at the MTV Europe Music Awards in November 2000, and a few TV performances aside, the group did little meaningful promotion. In an attempt to cover more ground, the girls split up and covered different countries separately; for example Victoria and Emma headed to America while Melanie B and C concentrated on Europe.
Further planned single releases off the album never materialised. Promo singles of "Tell Me Why" and "If You Wanna Have Some Fun" came into circulation but to fans dismay the Forever project was abandoned as the girls each began to concentrate on solo careers. Although the group has never formally disbanded, they have not appeared in public together since November 2000. In the years since the release of their last album, the media has speculated endless about possible reunions but none have ever come about.
Ten years after the release of their debut single, The Spice Girls were voted the biggest cultural icons of the 1990s by 80% in a UK poll of 1,000 people carried out for the board game Trivial Pursuit, stating that "Girl Power" defined the decade. The group selling in excess of 50 million records worldwide in the space of two-and-a-half years.
After being shut out by the Brit Pop revolution that occurred in the early 1990s when bands like Oasis, Pulp and Blur dominated the charts, pop music found a voice again. The Spice Girls are largely credited for bringing music to a younger market – most notably pre-teenage girls[. The image of the Spice Girls was deliberately aimed at young girls, and the five distinctive personalities were marketed such that there was at least one Spice Girl that every girl could associate with. This marketing was helped in no small way by the aliases assigned to each member of the group. Shortly after Wannabe’s release, the group appeared in "Top Of The Pops" magazine where each member was given a nickname based upon their image: Victoria became "Posh Spice," Emma became "Baby Spice," Melanie B was named "Scary Spice," Geri Halliwell was named "Ginger Spice" in the UK & Europe and "Sexy Spice" in the US, and Melanie C became "Sporty Spice." These nicknames quickly caught the imagination of tabloid editors and they stuck with the girls throughout their careers, although there was later made an attempt to rename Halliwell "Ginger Spice" in order to create an image more suitable for young children.
Attacked as a mere marketing ploy by critics, their "Girl Power" slogan was meant to demonstrate that girls could be as dominant as men without losing their femininity or sensuality. This concept is by no means original; both Madonna and Bananarama employed similar outlooks. But what made the Spice Girls distinctive is that this formed the centrepiece of their appeal. Whether this new form of feminism was just a cynical marketing tactic or not, "girl power" undoubtedly had an impact, becoming a mantra for millions of young girls and the phrase even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary. The impact of the group and "Girl Power" can be summed up by author Ryan Dawson who stated "The Spice Girls changed British culture enough for Girl Power to now seem completely unremarkable."
The Spice Girls also found themselves at the forefront of a miniature British cultural revolution in the mid-1990s. 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 Tony Blair. Coming out of a period of eighteen years of Conservative government, Tony Blair and New Labour were seen as young, cool and very appealing and this was one of the main driving forces in making Britain look fashionable again. 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. This fact was underlined at the Brit Awards in 1997. The group won two awards but it was Geri Halliwell's iconic union jack dress that dominated media coverage and eventually became the face of "Cool Britannia".
Over the past five years, reunion stories have dominated tabloid headlines in Britain. Newspapers have claimed that declining solo careers have forced each of the girls to consider reuniting the group. The vast majority of these however have been based on nothing more than rumour and hearsay. Despite official denials by the girls themselves tabloid editors continue to fill column inches with stories about a comeback. Whenever any of the members of the group are seen together in public, its almost certain that reunion stories will appear in the tabloid newspapers the following day.
The closest the group has come to reuniting on stage came in July 2005 at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, London. The group were widely rumoured to be performing at the show, and organiser Bob Geldof confirmed at a press conference on May 31, 2005 that he had been in contact with all of the girls. However the group did not perform due to the fact Melanie B had work commitments in LA.
Rumours have persisted of a greatest hits release and possible tour in 2006 to mark the tenth anniversary of the release of their debut single, Wannabe, in July. Melanie B appeared to confirm a greatest hits album in interviews in 2005, however the claims have been denied by other members of the group.
Further scorn on these rumours came in February 2006 from David Sinclair, author of Wannabe: How the Spice Girls Reinvented Pop Fame. Sinclair claims to have close contact with their record label and people affiliated with the group and he states that no plans for either a reunion or greatest hits collection are in the pipelines at the moment. However, Geri Halliwell seemed to hint at possible plans in a March 2006 interview with Hello Magazine when she told fans to "watch this space." Whatever the situation, the general consensus amongst fans is that something will happen to celebrate the Spice Girls tenth anniversary – whether it is a one off gig, greatest hits album release or possibly even a tour.
Career records and achievements
LINKS and REFERENCES
Girls in reunion tour
Daily Entertainment Break: Spice Girls to go on reunion tour - San Jose Mercury
Spice Girls announce reunion tour - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Spice Girls Reunite for World Tour - News Channel 7, SC
Girls To Create Reunion Documentary - Musicrooms.net, UK
Spice Girls use audio technology to stay in tune - Shiny Media, UK
Girls just wannabe back - Guardian Unlimited, UK -
Girls - TMZ.com, CA -
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