, 1974– ;
, 1974– ;
, 1975– ;
, 1976– )
British pop group whose debut album, Spice (1996), became UK's the biggest-selling album of all time.
In March 1994 an aspiring music manager advertised in the trade magazine The Stage for girls aged between eighteen and twenty-three who could sing and dance. Over 400 responded to the advertisement, which asked ‘Are you streetwise, ambitious, dedicated?’, and five were chosen after auditions. Geri Halliwell, known as ‘Ginger Spice’ because of her red hair, took dancing lessons and worked as a Majorca nightclub dancer until joining the group. Representing the group's connections with ‘Britpop’ in her famous Union Jack dress, she was the unofficial leader until leaving in May 1998. Victoria Adams, known as ‘Posh Spice’, grew up in London, where she attended theatre school. She is engaged to Manchester United and England footballer David Beckham, whose child she is expecting. Melanie Brown (or Mel B), known as ‘Scary Spice’ because of her tattoo and pierced tongue, grew up in Leeds, where she had singing, acting, and dancing lessons and appeared in TV commercials. She married dancer David Gulzar, by whom she is pregnant, in September 1998. Her debut solo single, ‘I Want You Back’ (1998), went to the top of the charts. Melanie Chisholm (or Mel C), known as ‘Sporty Spice’ because of her enthusiasm for soccer and karate, grew up in Kent, where she attended dance school. Emma Bunton, known as ‘Baby Spice’, was the last to join the group; she grew up in London, where she attended stage school, was a child model, and appeared in TV commercials.
The Spice Girls took the British pop scene by storm when their first single, ‘Wannabe’ (July 1996), went straight to the top of the charts. The group's energetic performances and feisty attitude, together with their slogans of ‘girl power’ and ‘friendship is forever’, immediately struck a chord with young female audiences. With five ‘personalities’ to choose from, the Spice Girls were assured near-universal appeal: almost every girl could find a Spice Girl with whom to identify, while almost every male could find one about whom to fantasize. The group consolidated their early success with such songs as ‘Spice Up Your Life’ (October 1997) and the more ballad-like ‘2 Become 1’ (December 1996), ‘Mama’ (March 1997) and ‘Viva Forever’ (July 1998). By the time their extended single, ‘The Goodbye EP’, was released in November 1998, the group had sold over eight million singles worldwide. They had also achieved over fourteen million album sales with Spice (1996) and Spiceworld (1997). The group starred in a film about themselves, Spice: The Movie (1997), and have a number of lucrative advertising and merchandising deals.