During 1994, an advertisement was placed in the trade magazine The Stage asking for female singers to attend an audition for an all-female pop band at Danceworks Studio. Almost 400 women attended the audition before being whittled down to only five. Those now-famous five became the Spice Girls.
Victoria Adams, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm and Michelle Stephenson were selected to form a band then known as Touch. The quintet moved into a house in Maidenhead, Berkshire where they spent the majority of 1994 in training. A couple of months into the training regime, Stephenson was fired and replaced by Emma Bunton. Shortly after Bunton’s arrival, Halliwell came up with the band name Spice after gaining inspiration from one of the songs they had recorded entitled “Sugar and Spice.” Their name was eventually changed to Spice Girls because a rapper was already using the name Spice.
On July 7, 1996, the Spice Girls released their debut single “Wannabe” in the United Kingdom and it became an instant hit, with the accompanying video being aired up to 70 times per week at its peak. The catchy song entered the British charts at number three before climbing to number one the following week, where it stayed for seven weeks. Wannabe became a global hit, reaching number one in 37 countries and became the biggest selling debut single by an all-female group before becoming the biggest selling single by an all-female group of all time.
The Spice Girls then released two more tracks in October and December, the latter being “2 Become 1,” the group’s first Christmas number one after selling 462,000 copies in the first week. The two tracks combined with the debut Wannabe meant the Spice Girls had three of the top five selling songs in the UK in 1996.
Spice, the group’s debut album, went on to sell 31 million copies worldwide and is still the best-selling girl group album of all-time. The following year, the album Spiceworld was released and quickly became another major success, eventually selling 20 million copies to become the third most successful album by an all-female group. In 1998, the Spice Girls embarked on their Spiceworld world tour but on May 31 that year, Halliwell announced she was leaving the band “because of differences” between the other band members. Halliwell went on to launch a solo career.
Two years later, in December 2000, the group released a statement revealing they would be taking an indefinite hiatus in order to concentrate on their solo careers, although they were adamant the group was not splitting permanently. Seven years later on June 28, 2017, the Spice Girls announced they were reforming and would be embarking on a worldwide tour. Tickets for the London date sold out in 38 seconds, proving the group was still massively popular despite their seven-year break.
After touring for two years, the band had another break before reuniting again in 2012 to promote their Viva Forever! musical. During this year, Spice Girls sang a melody of “Wannabe” and “Spice Up Your Life” at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. Finally, in July 2016, Brown, Bunton and Halliwell unveiled a new website where they hinted at becoming a three-piece group still called the Spice Girls. Adams, now Beckham after marrying football star David Beckham, was busy while Chisholm was concentrating on her solo career. Unfortunately, Halliwell fell pregnant and the whole project was cancelled, bringing the curtain down on the Spice Girls…for now.