The 1990’s are well known for their wide selection of boy bands and girl bands. The Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and The Spice Girls are perhaps the most prominents. The world of music and show business has quite a significant churn rate, and it is not uncommon for a band or a group of musicians to part ways after 10 years of collective performance, or even less than that. The reasons for it are rather straightforward and commercial for most of them. A lot of times an individual member will be recognised for their high potential when compared to other members, and will then pursue a solo career. But this wasn’t the case with the Spice Girls and, really, to this day no one knows exactly what happened.
On May 31, 1998, Geri Halliwell announced that she had officially left the Spice Girls. This was not only a shock to the public but a thunder in the middle of a clear sky for her band members as well. Without so much as a proper goodbye, Geri simply got off the private jet after one of the shows and then failed to show up the next day for a breast cancer charity interview. The interview was conducted without her, to the astonishment of the audience. This was the first time in the history of the Spice Girls where they participated in a PR even with a member missing. They said that Geri was feeling ill that day, a story which they successfully sold at the time. But even during the interview there was tension between the members noted by some. Suspicions were fuelled by the fact that out of all the Spice Girls it was Geri who hyped this interview and this charity all along. This interview is often cited as the straw that broke the camel’s back, and this is supported by Geri’s statements in some later interviews. For Geri, this charity work represented a meaningful project that she wanted to make her own, but the group felt that everyone should participate in it. Televised appearances are best made with everyone there, to prevent any rumors of any member preparing the ground for going solo.
This was a manifestation of a frustration that Geri had for a long time. A group of artists comes with an inertia and tension. On the one hand, they must be a united front and make all artistic decisions collectively. On the other, conflict is inevitable, especially if you have strong personalities defending their points of view. Two is hard enough, but there were five of the Spice Girls. Geri didn’t feel like she could do things on her own anymore and that her identity as a person was completely usurped by the brands of Spice Girls. To make things worse, even within the group she didn’t feel like a necessary member, and that her talents weren’t actually in demand. She just had to show up to ensure the smooth sailing of a largely commercial enterprise. Geri didn’t feel like she could trust anyone in the group to share this with, so she left without any proper notice.