Thirty years after the birth of Girl Power, we take a look at the birth of ‘Spicemania’ - and the five powerful young women behind it…


One minute, the Ninites were a male-dominated era of Take That and Westlife – the next, we were transporte­d into a world of Girl Power. And it all began on 4 March 1994, when hundreds of aspiring young singers crammed into London’s Dancework Studios, shortly after spotting an advert for a new UK girl band. Among the 400 hopefuls were a baby-faced Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, and a then unknown Victoria Adams.

Mel B , as she became known, instantly blew the judges away, singing Whitney Huston’s The Greatest Love of All, while Mel C went for The Pointer Sisters’ I’m So Excited and Victoria chose Mein Herr from the musical Cabaret.

A month later, these eager young girls were invited back for a second audition – fighting it out against 10 others for a place.

By then, Geri Halliwell was there, too, even though she’d skipped the initial audition, after getting sunburnt in Spain.

‘She just said she was ill and pleaded to be fast-tracked to the recall,’ Victoria later recalled.

All four were selected to form the band alongside a 17-year-old called Michelle Stephenson – but she was soon replaced by Emma Bunton, a former stage school pupil who had been recommende­d by their vocal tutor – and the rest is history. (Imagine a world without Baby Spice?!)

‘Of course, I regret I’m not a multi-millionair­e like them,’ Michelle later revealed.

‘But at the time I left the group I knew I was doing the right thing. It wasn’t my kind of music, and they were not living the lifestyle I wanted.’

Living in a rented house in Kent, the girls (then aged 17-21) spent the following year putting together their infamous ‘Girl Power’ style and creating those now iconic personas.

They changed the band name from Touch to Spice – and finally to the Spice Girls – where Posh ( Victoria), Scary (Mel B), Sporty (Mel C), Ginger (Geri) and Baby (Emma) were born…

Then, in 1996, the about-tobe-worldwide-famous band shot their debut video for Wannabe, which instantly promoted their feminist Girl Power image – with the song going straight tin at No.3 on the UK charts… Zig Ah Zig, Ahh!

Talking of Girl Power, this achievemen­t made it the fastest and biggest-selling single by an all-female group in the UK to date.

Wannabe went on to top the charts in 22 countries, 31 by Christmas, selling an unstoppabl­e four million copies.

By 1997, their next single, Say You’ll Be There, entered the charts straight at No.1, staying there for two weeks, and holding a place in the charts for 17 weeks.

Many praising reviews followed, although an unwarrante­d backlash against this ‘manufactur­ed’ band also made its way into the media.

But the girls didn’t stay down for long, as the following month, their debut album Spice was released, and instantly entered the UK charts at No.1, staying there for nine weeks.

By the end of March 1997, the song had worldwide sales approachin­g 20 million… and the

 ?? ?? Nelson Mandela meeting his ‘heroes’
The girls were cheeky to Prince Charles
Living it up in Cannes in 1995
Nelson Mandela meeting his ‘heroes’ The girls were cheeky to Prince Charles Living it up in Cannes in 1995
 ?? ?? Girl Power gripped Britain
Girl Power gripped Britain

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