Reliving Girl Power
EVERY now and then, a pop act or band comes along that has a huge impact on society. Their faces are everywhere you look and their songs are heard, no matter where you go in the world.
The Beatles are a prime example of such a band. Beatlemania was like a global phenomenon in the sixties and they made history. Today the most obvious example would have to be One Direction. Although an X-Factor creation of music mogul Simon Cowell, they are undeniably one of the biggest groups in the world at present. However, for me, the most influential band of my childhood was the one and only Spice Girls. This was not just a band for me. It was like an obsession and any song they had I knew every word, every dance move and owned every piece of merchandise they ever endorsed. After originally forming in 1994 they burst onto the pop scene in 1996 with ‘Wannabe‘ and took the world by storm.
They had a few unique characteristics which made them stand out from any other group at the time. It had been a while since any major girl groups had taken centre stage in the pop world so their timing was perfect. As well as that, their philosophy of ‘Girl Power‘ obviously appealed to women and girls everywhere. It was their motto and their message to society. They were feisty, a little bit cheeky and people loved it. Their ‘Girl Power‘ slogan was plastered on all their albums, posters and mentioned in probably every interview they did. If you uttered the words ‘girl power’ you knew exactly what it was in reference to – the one and only Spice Girls.
Another aspect of this group which no one had really seen before was just how different these five girls were. So much so that each one became like a character. Top of the Pops magazine labelled them with these personas. Emma Bunton became known as Baby Spice, Melanie Chisholm as Sporty Spice, Geri Halliwell as Ginger Spice, Victoria Adams as Posh Spice and Melanie Brown as Scary Spice. Each one played up to the image of their nickname and this made their appeal even more popular. Everyone had a favourite. It was almost like you could choose your favourite flavour of something. Baby Spice was very girly and cute, Sporty was like the tomboy of the group, Ginger was the cheeky one with an edge, Posh was the slightly less carefree gal who donned the sophisticated look and Scary was the slightly outrageous and wacky one. There was something for everyone, no matter what you liked and this made them irresistible in the pop world. Personally my favourite was Mel C (Sporty Spice), maybe because I was quite athletic as a child. This compiled with their catchy songs, fun videos and fashion trends (platform shoes) contributed to their girl power domination.
Of course like any group which have taken the world by storm the Spice Girls made the most of their fame by endorsing a variety of products. I think I owned everything possible that centered around the Spice Girls except for the dolls. I never managed to get my hands on one but that wasn’t for the want of trying! Apart from this I had books, posters, the collectible photographs, (I would spend every penny I had on these), the polaroid camera, calendars, jewellery, make-up, stationary, videos, a mug, clothes and probably plenty more that I can’t remember. As well as all this merchandise, the Spice Girls teamed up with Pepsi for an advert which promoted their ‘Generation Next‘ song. Again the advert was packed with the feisty girl power attitude. They also had a fragrance with Impulse body spray and there were even chocolate bars in conjunction with Cadbury.
Then of course there was the movie – Spice World – which showed the girls getting into all kinds of trouble around London. It was possibly the most excited I had ever been to go to the cinema! I later purchased two videos of tours they had done and watched them repeatedly. The Spice Girls trend seemed like it would never end. But alas, it did.
The demise of the group came shortly after Geri Halliwell left the group in May 1998. The other four girls continued on for a while but I think a lot or people will agree it was never quite the same when Ginger left. Not because she was the centre of the group or anything of the sort but simply because the dynamic of the group had now changed quite drastically. Afterwards they all attempted to have solo careers but none were hugely successful. They each had a few singles but none really ever compared to the success they had felt as the Spice Girls. The likes of ‘Wannabe‘, ‘Say You’ll Be There‘, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?‘ and ‘Spice Up Your Life‘ wouldn’t be heard again.
I have to say while I was procrastinating on YouTube this week I couldn’t help but laugh when I looked back on the songs and the videos that accompanied them. They were fun, a bit cringey in hindsight but they certainly made a huge impact on me when I was a kid. As an adult the Spice Girls have given me some great memories to look back on!
Photos c/o ryanseacrest.com