|SPICE GIRLS - BIOGRAPHY||
The Spice Girls were the first major British pop music phenomenon of the mid-'90s to not have a debt to independent pop-rock. Instead, the all-female quintet derived from the dance-pop tradition that made Take That the most popular British group of the early '90s, but there was one crucial difference. The Spice Girls used dance-pop as a musical base, but they infused the music with a fiercely independent, feminist stance that was equal parts Madonna, post-riot-grrrl alternative-rock feminism, and a co-opting of the good-times-all-the-time stance of England's new lad culture. Their proud, all-girl image and catchy dance-pop appealed to younger listeners, while their colorful, sexy personalities and sense of humor appealed to older music fans, making the Spice Girls a cross-generational success. The group also became chart-toppers throughout Europe in 1996, before concentrating in America in early 1997.
Every member of the Spice Girls was given a specific identity by the British press from the outset, and each label was as much an extension of their own personality as it was a marketing tool, since each name derived from their debut single and video, "Wannabe." Geri Estelle Halliwell was the "sexy Spice; " Melanine Janine Brown was the "scary Spice; " Victoria Addams was the "posh Spice; " Melanie Jayne Chisholm was "the sporty Spice; " Emma Lee Bunton was "the baby Spice." Each one of these personas were exploited in the group's press articles and videos, which helped send "Wannabe" to the top of the charts upon its summer release in 1996. If all of the invented personalties makes the Spice Girls seem manufactured, that's because they are to a certain extent. Every member of the group was active in England's theatrical, film and modelling circuit, and they all responded to an advertisement requesting five "lively girls" for a musical group in the summer of 1993. The manager who placed the ad chose all five members of the Spice Girls, yet the women rejected his plans for their career and set out on their own two months after forming. For the next two years, the Girls fought to get a record contract, since most record labels insisted that the band pick one member as a clear leader, which is something the group refused.
Eventually, the Spice Girls signed a contract to Virgin Records, but they were without a manager, which made recording a debut album nearly impossible. All five members moved into a house and went on the dole as they searched for a manager. By the end of 1995, the group had signed with Annie Lennox's manager Simon Fuller, and began writing songs with Elliot Kennedy. "Wannabe," the Spice Girls' first single, was released in the summer of 1996, and it became the first debut single by an all-female band to enter the charts at number one in England. It remained at number one for seven weeks, and by the end of the year, "Wannabe" had hit number one in 21 other countries. Immediately following the success of "Wannabe," the Spice Girls became media icons in Britain, as stories of their encounters with other celebrities became fodder for numerous tabloids, as did nude photos of Geri that she posed for earlier in her career. All of this added to the group's momentum, and their second single, "Say You'll Be There," entered the charts at number one in the fall, selling 200,000 copies a week. Spice, their debut album, was released at the end of the year, accompanied by their first ballad, "2 Become 1." Both the album and single went directly to number one, staying there for several weeks; both records were at number one over the Christmas week, making the Spice Girls one of three artists to achieve that feat.
Having topped the charts in virtually every other country in the Western world, the Spice Girls concentrated on America in early 1997, releasing "Wannabe" in January and Spice in February.
They became massive stars in the U.S. as well, also scoring the hits "Say You'll Be There" and "2 Become 1; " Spiceworld, their second LP, appeared later in the year in conjunction with their feature film of the same name.