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Music / Spice Girls

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Then and now.


The Spice Girls are a British (English) Girl Group who played a huge role in forming the 1990's 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 pre-teens 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 '90s 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 (nee 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/early 1998.

Sixty five million records later, the Spice Girls became one of the best selling girl groups 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 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 100 million USD 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. In 2018, a second reunion tour was announced for the UK in 2019, albeit without Victoria's participation.



This girl group provides examples of:

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: This is Victoria's reputation and appeal/gimmick (until she becomes a blonde in the reunion, at least). Somewhat averted by Melanie C who, while camera-shy, came across as friendlier than Vicky.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Melanie C, not helped by the fact she had a butch look in mid 1999, although this was a fabrication by the media, she is actually straight. (Mel B was the one who went public about having a relationship with a woman.)
  • Bi the Way: Mel B has had relationships with both men and women, most notably a four-year relationship with Christine Crokos after the band's split and a ten-year marriage with Stephen Belafonte after that.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Victoria sported this from 1998 to the band's split in 2000. Melanie C sported this from mid 1999 to early 2000 in addition to bleaching her hair blonde.
  • 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.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Geri.
  • The Cutie: Emma's appeal/gimmick, making her a perfect Kid-Appeal Character.
  • Daddy's Girl: Geri. Partially Gender Flipped by Emma, who's very close to her mother.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Guess I'd rather be hated then pitied in Naked off their debut.
  • Emotionless Girl: Victoria (at least to the public).
  • 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!"
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Emma. Geri too; technically she's a natural blonde.
  • 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 on the strength of her personality and determination.
  • 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. Despite singing on almost every track on all three albums, she is often touted as "the one who never sings" because she doesn't a have a solo part in Wannabe, the song which the girls perform most (she missed the session when the song was written because she had to attend a family function). She even parodied this perception of 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.
  • 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)
  • Gender Flip: unlike most previous manufactured Girl Groups, which didn't typically bother to differentiate their members all that much, the Spice Girls nicked the Boy Bands' trick of giving each member a distinguishing character trait and 'role' in the group. It's been speculated that this is one of the reasons they broke through so strongly in the Boy Band-dominated nineties. As a result, the five of them fit the traditional Boy Band archetypes very neatly:
    • The Heartthrob: Geri (Ginger).
    • The Bad Girl: Mel B (Scary).
    • The Quiet One: Victoria (Posh).
    • The Big Sister: Mel C (Sporty).
    • The Cute One: Emma (Baby).
  • Genki Girl: Geri. Mel B has shades of this too.
  • The Gimmick
  • Girl Group: Mentioned again because, well, they are the trope image.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Emma, especially in the early years.
  • Greatest Hits Album
  • Gratuitous Spanish: The rap that makes up the second verse of "If U Can't Dance".
  • 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". In her first autobiography Geri also alludes to Mel C and Mel B having physical "sibling scraps".
  • Horned Hairdo: Mel B occasionally had that kind of hairdo in a somewhat Rule of Cool manner.
  • Iconic Outfit: Geri's Union Jack dress in the 1997 Brit Awards.
  • 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 has continued to do so for many years now.
    • Mel C also got her hair cut short and dyed it blonde for her solo career (though later outgrew it to chin length) and Mel B had her hair straightened.
    • 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 many more. There were also two unreleased songs which attempted this (both were eventually deemed too rude for airplay). The first one was called Feed Your Love and was allegedly about giving a blow job and the second one was called C U Next Thursday, which if you look at first letters of each word ...
  • 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. Also, Posh Spice married a footballer instead of Sporty.
    • Mel C was thought to be a lesbian, but Mel B turned out to have had relationships with women.
    • Baby Spice was the most innocent looking of the girls, but she was the daughter of a karate instructor.
    • Haliwell was considered the fiery one, but also the one who ended up dealing with depression.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Emma is the youngest. She's a type 2 and her nickname even plays this for laughs.
  • Large Ham: Mel B, that is why she got the nickname "Scary Spice"
  • Licensed Game: Spice World, a Rhythm Game for the original Playstation.
  • Little Black Dress: Victoria is fond of wearing these, as said in Spice World, "the little Gucci dress".
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Seems to be part of Ginger's persona
  • Lovable Jock: Sporty Spice, presumably.
  • The Movie: Spice World.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Girls were arguably a collective example. Each of them had their own distinctive style that could appeal to particular fans.
  • 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, although Mel C sometimes fills it instead.
  • New Sound Album: Forever introduced a very American 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 pop and 90s dance music.
    • To be fair the Forever album, it was produce by Darkchild who had had a hand in making hits for groups like Destiny's Child. While certainly not bad it was just too far removed from what fans had come to expect from the Spice Girls and, as such, was a huge 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 Steve Limit: Averted with Melanie Brown and Melanie Chisholm. This is why they shortened their full names to avoid confusion.
  • The Oner: "Wannabe"'s video is a one-take shot.
  • Oop North: Mel C is from a suburb of Cheshire near Liverpool, while Mel B is from Yorkshire (Leeds to be exact).
  • Personality Powers
  • Power of Friendship: Theme of Headlines (Friendship Never Ends) and one of their major messages.
  • Pretty in Mink: Three of the remaining four in the Goodbye music video (Mel C is the exception).
  • Rapunzel Hair: Victoria in the Holler video. Especially jarring because she has a pixie cut in the simultaneous video Let Love Lead the Way (which was actually shot before Holler). 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.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • As mentioned previously, the reason Victoria doesn't have solo lines in Wannabe is that she missed the recording session to attend a family function.
    • "Christmas Wrapping", the B-side to "Goodbye", only has vocals from Emma and Mel C, because the other two were pregnant at the time. "Goodbye" itself was also originally written to be about a relationship ending. With Geri's sudden departure, the lyrics became about her instead.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Geri/Mel B VS Emma/Victoria, whilst Mel C is a purple oni.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Mel B.
  • Scary Black Woman: Mel B, who was indeed nicknamed "Scary Spice".
  • Series Fauxnale: Many, including the girls themselves, believed that Goodbye might be their last single. Obviously, it isn't.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Since she was "Sporty Spice" Mel C was always dressed in a very simple and tomboyish style. She is 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: "'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.
  • Winter Royal Lady: The girls evoke this appearance in the Goodbye music video, though Victoria makes it a somewhat black version.
  • Zeerust: The music video for "Spice Up Your Life".

Alternative Title(s): The Spice Girls


Example of: