The Real Reason Why The Spice Girls Were So Short-Lived

For most of the late 1990s we were all living in a Spice World. The British musical phenomenon had conquered the globe with a winning blend of infectious pop, colorful personalities, and girl-power mantra. But like many of their pop predecessors, Spice Girls’ success appeared to be a case of too much, too soon; by the turn of the century they’d essentially waved goodbye to the charts. Here’s a look at how they “spiced up our lives” — and why they soon had to move over for a new generation of girlbands. 

Next big thing

Victoria ‘Posh’ Adams, Melanie ‘Sporty’ Chisholm, Melanie ‘Scary’ Brown, Geri ‘Ginger’ Halliwell, and Emma ‘Baby’ Bunton first came together in 1993 after spotting an ad to find the next best thing in pop.

The last of these five was only a last-minute replacement: the original line-up had featured a young singer named Michelle Stephenson. Yet she was later given the boot after failing to fit in with the rest of the band. 

Softies and snobs

In the Girl Power book released in 1997 the group all revealed their first impressions of one another. Geri was labeled a “complete nutter” by Melanie C, Emma, and Victoria.

The trio then added, “She had her hair in bunches and was wearing a pink fluffy jumper and saying, ‘Look, look – I’m a duck!’” Melanie B, meanwhile, described Emma and Victoria as a “softie” and “snob,” respectively. 

Girl power

You could never accuse the Spice Girls of not putting their money where their mouths were. In an early display of girl power, the five-piece soon decided to ditch the management team behind the concept and strike out on their own.

It initially looked like they had made a great error: in fact, they spent two years failing to land a record contract. But in 1995 their instinct for independence finally paid off handsomely. 


Yes, the girls eventually bagged a deal with major label Virgin Records and signed with Simon Fuller, the pop guru who’d guided the career of Annie Lennox. They released their debut single, “Wannabe,” in the summer of 1996.

And thanks to its hook-laden sound, brilliantly nonsense lyrics — including the infamous “zig-a-zig-ah” — and eye-catching video, the song reached number one in the U.K. It stayed there for seven weeks and pretty soon, every other country had become enamored by it, too.