“Wannabe starlets? Ru 18-23 with the ability to sing/dance? Ru streetwise, outgoing, ambitious and dedicated? Heart Management Ltd. are currently forming a choreographed, singing/dancing all female pop act for a recording act. Open audition, dance works, 16 Balderton Street, friday 4th march.”

The what-came-to-be-known-as-the-Spice Girls all answered this ad put out by the father-and-son team Chris and Bob Herbert in The Stage; the Herberts wanted to put together a girl group. Hundreds responded to the ad; only a few were chosen. Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, and Victoria Adams were part of the original lineup. The spark plug of the future Spice Girls, Geri Halliwell, did not initially make it to the auditions, but with her trademark spunk, she managed to charm her way into the fourth slot.

The original five did not include Emma Bunton, but a girl by the name of Michelle Stephenson, who eventually backed out because of her mother’s illness and also because she was unable to fit in with the other girls. Emma was soon brought in, and the girl group then called Touch was complete.

The girls were then piled together in a house in Maidenhead, with the two Mels sharing a room, Victoria and Emma squeezed in their own room, and Geri, being the oldest, having her own space in a small bedroom. They were put to work perfecting their chemistry, their dancing, and their singing, presenting their skills to composers and other people in the music industry. After putting in a year’s work with no contract in sight, the girls decided to take matters in their own hands and broke away from their management. As the story goes, they packed themselves into Geri’s small car in search of the songwriter with whom they were supposed to be working, after hunting down his number and address in the phone book. They eventually hit it off with 19 Management’s Simon Fuller, and from then on, they headed down the road to fame.

The Spice Girls: Their heyday

Much to the Girls’ surprise, their first single “Wannabe” simply caused a pop explosion that had never been seen before. The single catapulted to number 1 all over the world, and their other singles from their first album, Spice, were just as phenomenal. Apart from infusing pop music with a whole new life and ushering in a fun, cool image for Great Britain, the Spice Girls also championed Girl Power, a philosophy that promoted female empowerment, albeit a philosophy that left feminists skeptical and dissatisfied.

Product endorsement deal after product endorsement deal presented themselves to the Spice Girls, and not too long after, their second album, Spice World, was unleashed onto the world. Their movie by the same name was also released in 1997, and while it didn’t exactly garner rave reviews from critics, fans didn’t care and queued up to watch the Spice Girls on the big screen.

The biggest thing for the Girls was their world tour, which kicked off in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Spice Girls, post-Geri

In May 1998, Geri suddenly left the Spice Girls in the middle of their world tour, leaving the Spice Girls Ginger-less. The remaining four carried on bravely for a while, completing their scheduled world tour, reaching number one with their singles “Goodbye,” “Holler,” and “Let Love Lead The Way,” off their third album entitled Forever, and displaying a completely new and edgier look, quite removed from their more easygoing looks during their time as a five-piece. Ultimately things weren’t the same. Two of the girls were pregnant and gave birth during this period, Melanie B to Phoenix Chi and Victoria to Brooklyn. Although the Spice Girls never formally disbanded, it was no big surprise when each of them began pursuing solo careers.

Flying solo

Upon leaving the Spice Girls, Geri embarked on her solo career, unveiling a leaner body and a different sound. She ultimately released three albums, as did Emma, who continued down the pop route and scored a few hits. Melanie B released a couple of albums as well as an autobiography. Victoria attained the status of fashion icon with her keen eye for style and has also released her clothing line as well as two books: an autobiography entitled Learning to Fly and a fashion book called That Extra Half-Inch: Heels, Hair, and Everything in Between. Melanie C was–still is–the most tenacious when it came to her solo career.

The Return of the Spice Girls, 2007

Nine years after the Spice Girls performed as a fivesome, rumors about a reunion were swirling, which definitely had fans around the world crossing their fingers for a comeback. Geri, Emma, Victoria, and Melanie B were all receptive to the idea; Melanie C was reportedly lukewarm about the prospect, even averse to it. Eventually, a reunion was indeed announced in June 2007, in which the Girls would release a CD of their greatest hits along with two new songs and reembark on their interrupted world tour.

Fans embraced the Spice Girls all over again, and the Girls had new routines and shows in store for everyone. Since most of them are mothers this time around, they brought their children onstage during performances of “Mama.”

Unfortunately, not all the fans got a taste of the revived Spice Girls. Due to commitments and other priorities, such as each of their solo careers and their families, they did end up finishing their reunion tour later than planned, but cutting out many dates in the process, particularly the scheduled shows in Australia, Asia, and South America. The Spice Girls declared that they have truly enjoyed performing as a group and seeing all their fans, but have since said that they will never tour again.