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?!?
B is for Break-ins and Blow-up dolls
After months of rehearsals, the five girls grew disillusioned with Bob and Chris Herbert, and decided to extricate themselves.
They hadn’t signed a contract – but their managers did have the master recording of their songs Wannabe and 2 Become 1. So Geri hatched a plan to retrieve the recordings and make off with them.
“I don’t know how she actually managed to get it – everything was so Bonnie and Clyde,” says Victoria in her autobiography, Learning To Fly. “She had it hidden in her knickers, she said, in case Bob and Chris had given chase.”
Working from the back of Geri’s beaten-up Fiat Uno, the band started building a new team, eventually signing with Annie Lennox’s manager Simon Fuller. He immediately put them in the studio, and started introducing them to record labels.
“I’ll never forget the day they burst in here,” Virgin Records deputy director Ashley Newton told Music Week in the first-ever profile of the Spice Girls. “They caused such a commotion, doing a mad routine in the office, all talking at once and being really funny.”
He called his bosses and told them: “You have to see this.”
On the day they were due to sign to the label, the band sent five Ann Summers blow-up dolls in their place, with a chauffeur instructed to announce that the Spice Girls had arrived.
“There were almost heart attacks,” Geri claimed.
“If Virgin didn’t know who yet they were dealing with, they did now,” added Victoria.
Later, after they actually turned up and signed their contracts, the band threw the dolls into the Grand Union Canal, where they bobbed about for days.
- Mel C: ‘People think I’m mouthy, but I’m really gentle’
- Spice Girls tour ends with Geri apology
- The UK’s biggest girl band hits revealed
- Geri: Mum suggested naming my baby for George Michael
- Radio 2: Spice Up Your Life – 25 Years of Girl Power
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