The Spice Girls at 25: Here’s the story from A to Z
Released 25 years ago, on 8 July 1996, Wannabe spent seven weeks at number one in the UK and four in the US. In the process, it made five unknown girls – Victoria Caroline Adams, Melanie Janine Brown, Emma Lee Bunton, Melanie Jayne Chisholm and Geraldine Estelle Halliwell – global superstars.
So here’s a story from A to Z of how the band started, rose to fame, fell apart and put themselves back together again. Because which member of our LGBT+ Community does not love the Spice Girls?!?
D is for Demo tape
The original demo for Wannabe is being released to mark the song’s 25th anniversary – and its very different experience to the final version, full of record scratches, clunky 1990s synths and a bizarre breakbeat outro.
The song was something of a Frankenstein’s monster, co-writer Matt Rowe told David Sinclair for his 2004 Spice Girls biography.
“They made all these different bits up,” Rowe said. “Not thinking in terms of chorus, bridge or what was going to go where – just coming up with all these sections of chanting and rapping and singing. And then we just sewed it together. Kind of a cut-and-paste method.”
Virgin, noting the popularity of girl bands like Eternal and TLC, were keen to give the song an R&B makeover and sent it to US producer Dave Way to be remixed. The result, according to Halliwell, “was bloody awful”.
Eventually, Mark “Spike” Stent – a producer who had worked with Massive Attack and Madonna – was called in to knock the song into shape.
“The problem was that the vocal balance hadn’t been quite sussed,” he told Sound On Sound magazine in 1999. “It’s a very quirky pop record, and there’s not a lot going on with it, and my work was all about getting the vocals to sound right. It was quite tough to do, even though it only took six hours.”
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