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The A to Z of The Spice Girls: N-Z
N is for... Northern Star
Mel C released her solo album in 1999 to rather lukewarm reviews. Northern Star seemed to encompass too many styles to please everyone. However this diversity of material has allowed Mel to achieve four hit singles including two number ones. The first single Goin' Down shocked all with its indie sound and gritty video with Mel in a kilt flashing her knickers. The song reached no 4 in the UK as did second single, the title track Northern Star. This was more or less a classic Spicy ballad. However it was the huge success of the third single Never Be The Same Again which made everyone sit up and take notice of the album. Featuring a superior rap by Lisa "Lefteye" Lopes and a languid, sexy video in which Mel has never looked so good before, the song debuted at no 1 in March 2000. The fourth (and not the last) single was the trance anthem I Turn To You which hit the top in August of the same year.
O is for... OK!
There was a blaze of publicity but Victoria's wedding to Manchester United footballer David Beckham in July 1999 was essentially a secretive affair, with OK! magazine paying £1 million for exclusive rights to the event. Held in Luttrellstown Castle on the outskirts of Dublin, the guests were asked to appear in either black or white, a single dove was released as they made their vows and of course at the reception the bride and groom sat on thrones overlooking all. David's best man was another footballer Gary Neville, while Victoria's sister Louise was the bridesmaid, with Louise's daughter Liberty and David's niece Georgia, both 16 months, acting as flower girls and dressed as angels. American Vera Weng designed the wedding gown.
P is for... Girl Power
What is Girl Power? Taking control of your life? Being assertive? Knowing what you want and going out to get it? Whatever it is, the Spice Girls have had an enormous effect on a generation of girls who are no longer happy to aspire to being "nice" or "quiet". Go out to your local pub or club and you'll see a thousand "spicies", having a good time and out-"ladding" the lads... But the message isn't just for the girls. It's for anyone who wants something better in life... Don't wait for it to come to you, go out and get it for yourself.
Q is for... Quintet becomes Quartet
On Wednesday May 27th, 1998, the Spice Girls were due to appear on the UK's National Lottery Show. However only four did with Emma, Victoria and the two Mels saying Geri couldn't appear because of gastro-enteritis. However rumours of squabbling between the girls had already been circulating and when Geri also failed to appear at two Oslo concerts on the following nights, the press began to speculate about a split. By the weekend Geri confirmed everyone's fears with a press statement that said she had left the band because of "differences" but vowing that she would be back. A documentary showing the pain that she went through making the decision and the lonliness she suffered and the triumphs she achieved in the months that followed prompted Mel B to later say good on her, it was good she expressed herself...
R is for... Comic Relief
The fourth single in the UK from the Spice Girls was the double A-side Mama and Who Do You Think You Are? which reached no 1 in March 1997. The royalties for Who Do You Think You Are? were donated to the Comic Relief charity, an organisation created and run by British comedians in an effort to raise money for international and national charities. Two videos were made for WDYTYA, the second featuring both the Spice Girls and the Sugar Lumps, a satirical group lead by Jennifer Saunders as Ginger Lumps, Dawn French as Posh Lumps and featuring Lulu as Baby Lumps. The video was a crowning moment for the 1997 Comic Relief telethon and helped enormously in gathering pledges for well-deserving causes.
S is for... Stop
In chart terms all single releases by the Spice Girls in the UK have been number ones, except one, the appropriately named Stop. Released in March 1998 and promoted by a video where the girls dance on a small town street, it was held off the top spot by It's Like That by Run DMC vs Jason Nevins.
T is for... Truesteppers
The last of the girls to release a "solo" effort, Victoria teamed up with Dane Bowers, formerly of Another Level, and Truesteppers to record Out Of Your Mind. A garage track with electronic vocals and a superior video, the song narrowly missed becoming a British No 1 in August 2000, losing out to the Ibiza anthem Groovejet. The chart battle between the two records got a lot of media attention and while it's a shame that Victoria couldn't have taken the no 1 baton from fellow spicy Mel C, the publicity will have raised the band's profile nicely for the new album.
U is for... Lift Me Up
Geri's second UK number one and perhaps her most interesting video, is Lift Me Up. Travelling across the states Geri meets up with a band of aliens who need to fix their spaceship. Sexy yet mothering Geri helps them get back into space. The single hit the top on 13th November 1999 only to be knocked off a week later by an ice-skating Robbie Williams. Strangely the song Lift Me Up exhibits both the strength and weakness of Geri's vocals which always seem to waver on the edge of being off-key and yet still sound great.
V is for... Viva Forever
The first single released after Geri left was Viva Forever. In the video all five girls appeared as cute animated fairies who lure one boy away from his friend to be lost forever in a world of magic. The single took the girls back to the top of the UK chart in August 1998.
W is for... Spice World
The title of the second album from the Spice Girls also named their film, Spice World. The album reached no 1 in the UK on 15th November 1997 and spawned four hit singles, Spice Up Your Life. Stop, Too Much and Viva Forever. The film, shot in a hectic eight weeks while they were also recording the album had cameos from a variety of people including Roger Moore, Elton John and Jools Holland, and featured Richard E. Grant as their manager. Other outstanding tracks on the album include the two big dance numbers Saturday Night Divas and Never Give Up On The Good Times and the big band number Lady Is A Vamp.
X is for... Xmas
Equalling the Beatles success of 1963-1965, the Spice Girls hit the no 1 spot on three consecutive Christmas' in the UK between 1996-1998. The first was their third single 2 Become 1 which topped the chart for three weeks. In 1997 the second single from Spiceworld Too Much made the Christmas and New Year number one as did their first non-Geri single Goodbye in 1998. The following year they said they were too busy to record a special single just for Christmas although it would have been tough to beat hot boyband Westlife to the coveted title for four in a row. Will they make it four out of five by taking the 2000 Christmas chart topper? Only time will tell...
Y is for... Say You'll Be There
The second single from the Spice Girls showed that they were no one-hit wonders, and that their music could be special and not just sassy. Filmed in the desert the video for Say You'll Be There was at odds with the song, with the girls playing comic book characters and toying with any spare man that came their way. The video also had great titles introducing the band. The song debuted at no 1 in the UK on 26th October, 1996 and stayed there for two weeks.
Z is for... Zigazig
The success of the Spice Girls first single Wannabe with its clarion calls of I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want and Zigazig Ah was nothing short of phenomenal. In the UK Chart it soon reached no 1 and stayed there for seven weeks, which, in these days of high debuts and quick turnarounds at the top of the charts, has only been equalled once since, by Cher's Believe. The video showed the girls trashing an expensive restaurant and striking poses with attitude. The concept was tried again recently by Girl Thing but with a lot less success. In the US the song also conquered the Billboard Top 100, topping the chart for four weeks.
I hope you've enjoyed this brief whirl round the world of spice. If you have any corrections or suggestions for improvements then let me know by using the contact page. I'll be updating the site so please bookmark the page now and visit often. Cheers, Alan (2/9/00)
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