Then and now.
The Spice Girls were a British (English) Girl Group
who played a huge role in forming the 1990s for young girls across the globe. With songs mostly written and produced by Richard Stannard, Max Martin and Matt Rowe, their sound was created to appeal to preteens and teenagers alike, using familiar riffs and somewhat suggestive lyrics. As a result, not only were they able to easily break through to the American market, but the group can also be credited as a major factor in shifting the tide in The Nineties
from alternative rock to teen pop music (later solidified by boy bands, Britney Spears
, and Christina Aguilera
The quite intentionally tailored five girl band consisted of Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell
, Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown
, Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton
, Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisholm
and Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham (née Adams)
. Despite most European pop bands finding it difficult to break into American mainstream, The Spice Girls' very first single, "Wannabe", shot straight to number one in more than 30 countries, including the United States.
After their overnight success, a movie, Spice World
was released in 1997.
Seventy-five million records later, the Spice Girls became the best-selling girl group of all time. They performed at the launch of Channel Five
in 1997. They suffered a setback in June 1998 after a relatively short run (considering their phenomenal success) when Geri Halliwell (aka Ginger Spice) had a bit of a Creator Breakdown
and left the group for a solo career just days before they were due on stage to perform a sold-out concert at Wembley Stadium. Still, the show went on, and the remaining four released a third album without Halliwell, Forever
. After numerous denials that they were going to split, they did.
That wasn't the end of the Spice Girls, however. In 2007, they confirmed that all five would return for a reunion tour, which sold out in every single country they visited. The tour grossed over US$100 million and was accompanied by a successful greatest hits album, which featured a new single by the girl group. In 2012 they reunited for a performance at the London Olympics.
This girl group provides examples of:
- Ambiguously Gay: Melanie C, although it was just for publicity — she's not actually gay. (Mel B was the one who went public about having a relationship with a woman.)
- Break Up Song: "Goodbye", the first single released after Geri's departure.
- Briefer Than They Think: 3 albums, 2 with the original group, 5 years releasing, 3 tours, yet spearheaded the whole Teen Pop movement and opened the doors for many artists in the late 90's & early 00's.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Theme found in "Viva Forever", a Love Nostalgia Song.
- Cloudcuckoolander: All of them play up to this in Spice World. Geri tends to come across as a mild version in her interviews.
- Cultural Rebel: That was the plan, anyway.
- Cute Bruiser: Mel C. Emma counts too-believe it or not, she's a master of Goju.
- Daddy's Girl: Geri. Partially Gender Flipped by Emma, who's very close to her mother.
- Dojikko: Geri.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Guess I'd rather be hated then pitied in Naked off their debut.
- Emotionless Girl: Victoria.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Geri alluded to this in one interview, saying that Emma got, "aww, it's Baby Spice" while she more often heard, "Oy, Ginger!"
- Failed Audition Plot: Completely subverted and averted by Geri. She showed up to the auditions for the band after the first round had already been screened and decisions were being made. She wasn't prepared and had very little idea what she was even auditioning for, yet she managed to get a spot as one of the five anyway, much to the chagrin of many of the other hopefuls.
- The Fashionista: Victoria
- Fiery Redhead: Geri.
- Flanderization: All of them.
- Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Especially egregious with Victoria, who seemed to turn into the one that was just meant to stand there and look pretty. She never got a lead role in any of the songs, and eventually seemed to stop singing altogether. She even parodied herself during the reunion tour when she walked the runway as a fashion model instead of singing a solo like the others. Thing is, the girl can actually sing. Check out her audition tape.
- Victoria stated in her autobiography that she had to be absent from the recording of an early demo tape so the lines were shared among the other girls with Victoria on backing vocals, and from then on her fate was sealed as "the one who doesn't sing."
- Victoria missed out on recording the demo for Wannabe as she was at a wedding. Victoria often sings hooks, harmonies, or one off lines until the period of their third album where she gets quite a few solo verses.
- Mel B confirmed years later that of all of them, Victoria had a serious head for business and was the one who figured out from their contracts where the money was going.
- Four Element Ensemble: Holler (Fire - Mel B, Earth - Mel C, Water - Emma, and Wind - Victoria) and "Let Love Lead The Way" (first two roles swapped with the latter two)
- Genki Girl: Geri and Mel B. were very, very loud.
- The Gimmick
- Girl Group: Mentioned again because, well, they're the trope image.
- Girlish Pigtails: Emma, "Then."
- Greatest Hits Album
- Headbutting Heroes: According to the girls themselves, there was a lot of tension between Geri and Mel B.
- According to Mel B, she and Mel C had "a few punch-ups".
- Horned Hairdo: Melanie "Scary Spice" Brown occasionally had that kind of hairdo in a somewhat Rule of Cool manner.
- Important Haircut: Victoria chopped all of her hair off just before getting married and Geri dyed her signature fire-engine-red hair a much more muted strawberry blonde after she left the group. Victoria also dyed her hair blonde and it has been so for many years now.
- Mel C also got her hair cut short and dyed it blonde for her solo career (and the album Forever), and Mel B had her hair straightened. Mel C since grew her hair long again, albeit being more reddish brown than black. As seen in the reunion picture, they look completely different to how they used to except for Emma.
- Also technically inverted with Victoria who started alternating between hair extensions and short hair in 2000. In 2011 she actually grew her hair long for the first time since before the group formed rather than getting extensions.
- Intercourse with You / Getting Crap Past the Radar: What sounds like a silly arse kicking song in childhood sounds like a sex song in adulthood. 2 Become 1, Holler, If U Can't Dance... and More!
- Irony: The "one who never sang" Victoria ended up as the one who remained in the public eye the most.
- It should be noted though that Victoria didn't remain in the public eye because of her music.
- Kid-Appeal Character: Emma is the youngest. She's a type 2, and her nickname even plays this for laughs.
- Licensed Game: Spice World, a Rhythm Game for the original Playstation.
- The Movie: Spice World.
- The Musical: 'Viva Forever', announced by the girls in June 2012 and being written by Jennifer Saunders for a December 2012 premiere.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: For some strange reason, Victoria got shoehorned into the Zoidberg part.
- Largely because the other members all had a gimmick and a unique voice - Geri with medium voice, Emma having a soft voice, Mel B having a deep voice and Mel C having a strongly accented voice, and took up most of the roles in the music. Aside from looks, Victoria's main role in the band was to fulfil the five member criteria that most manufactured pop groups had in those days.
- New Sound Album: Forever introduced a very American (and hardly distinctive) sounding R&B sound which led to it not being very well received (in the collective minds of British public it has been mostly forgotten). Their previous albums had been more rooted in disco music and 90s dance music..
- To be fair the album itself was produce by Darkchild who had had a hand in making hits for groups like Destiny's Child. While certainly not bad it was not what the Spice Girls were known for (or did best) and was unsurprisingly a disappointment.
- Not So Stoic: Victoria very rarely smiled during her run with the band. In fact, she smiled so little, that any time she was caught grinning, it was almost shocking to anyone seeing it for the first time. Particularly because she has an absolutely adorable smile.
- One Melanie Limit: Averted.
- Oop North: The Mels.
- Personality Powers
- Power of Friendship: Theme of Headlines (Friendship never Ends) and one of their major messages.
- Rapunzel Hair: Victoria in the "Holler" video. Especially jarring because she has a pixie cut in the simultaneous video "Let Love Lead The Way". Also in "Holler" Emma's hair is shown to be down to her waist in her water scenes while it's at its usual length for the dance scenes.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Geri/Mel B. VS Mel C./Emma/Victoria
- Scary Black Woman: Melanie B who was indeed nicknamed "Scary Spice".
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Since she was "Sporty Spice" Mel C was always dressed in a very simple and tomboyish style. She was so well known for it, it's always a little strange to see her more dressed up.◊
- Shorttank: Justified with Melanie "Sporty Spice" Chisolm.
- Spoken Word in Music: "Naked" has this at the beginning of the song, after the first chorus, and the middle is done as a phone conversation heard on Emma's end: "Hello...it's me...I thought you'd understand...well, maybe I should give it my best shot...I keep seeing such a pretty picture...But I don't want to be hated or pitied either...maybe I should leave it up to your imagination...I just want to be me..."
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Mels are the Tomboys, while Emma and Victoria are on the Girly Girl side. Geri seems to be halfway between both types.
- Took a Level in Badass: Mel C. went from being a cute, sporty chick who wore very little makeup comparatively to sporting a gold tooth and a nose ring, dyeing red streaks in her hair and doing backflips and karate moves on stage.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Geri and her famed Union Jack dress (which became her signature outfit of sorts) from the Brit Awards.
- With Friends Like These...