The Spice Girls Greatest Hits album has finally hit shelves. Therefore I'm celebrating all things Spice Girls this week. Who doesn't like the Spice Girls? I remember in spring 1997 when "Wannabe" took the charts by storm, followed quickly by "Say You'll Be There" and "2 Become One." Their debut album Spice was a massive seller across the world, and was quickly followed by Spiceworld, an album and soundtrack to their December '97 film. When I was abroad in London in 1998, "Too Much," the '97 Christmas #1, was just wrapping up its chart run. Vibrant "Stop" came out a couple of months later, the sole Spice Girls single that didn't hit #1--it was stopped at the top by the revival remix of Run-DMC's "It's Like That," which was taking Britain by storm that spring.
By Christmas 1998 things had started to change. During the summer, just before "Viva Forever" became their 7th #1 hit, Geri "Ginger" Halliwell announced she was leaving the band. The remaining four girls paid tribute to her with "Goodbye," their 8th number 1, but it was the beginning of the end. In 2000 they released their third album, Forever, which took their sound in a new more contemporary R&B direction. It didn't work. And although "Holler" was their 9th and final #1 hit, there were no more singles, and the album was a flop.
So what have the girls been up to since then? My guide below charts the highs and lows of what the five ladies have done with their non-Spice Girls careers. Collectively they've scored eight #1 hits, released 13 albums (and recorded a 14th that has never seen the light of day), had 3 husbands, 4 kids (only one of which was with any of the 3 husbands), and 38 top 40 hits. Starting from the top and going clockwise around the picture up top, here's what they've been up:
Victoria "Posh" Adams Beckham
Despite being arguably the most famous Spice Girl, Victoria's music career has been--ironically--the most dreadful. Wikipedia in fact describes her vocation not as a musician or entertainer but as an "internationally recognised and photographed style icon, socialite, and entrepreneur." Right.
Music: Victoria's biggest hit was appearing as vocalist on dance act Truesteppers' "Out of Your Mind," a #2 hit in 2000. She also had two top 10 hits from her only album, Victoria Beckham. A double A-side single "This Groove"/"Let Your Head Go" hit #3 in early 2003, but its parent album, Open Your Eyes, was never released.
Best known for: Marrying David Beckham, shopping, wearing sunglasses
Friends with: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
Melanie "Scary" Brown
Mel B has probably had the lowest profile of any Spice Girl. Practically forgotten until she grabbed tabloids last year by having Eddie Murphy's baby, her second child. She married someone else in June of this year.
Music: Mel B was actually the first Spice Girl to step out solo, collaborating with Missy Elliott in 1998 on "I Want You Back," a #1 hit. She's had a couple of other top 10 hits, two albums (in 2000 and 2005), but nothing else really of note.
Best known for: Having Eddie Murphy's baby
Friends with: Eddie Murphy
Emma "Baby" Bunton
At first, Emma Bunton didn't look like she was going to do anything interesting, and then she went and made a cool album with a '60s sheen before Amy Winehouse made it cool.
Music: Emma's first solo outing was a collaboration with well known dance act Tin Tin Out, who remade Edie Brickell's "What I Am" and took it to #2 in 1999. Emma followed that in 2000 with her debut album A Girl Like Me which scored a #1 single in "What Too You So Long." Her second album though was a real winner, perhaps the most highly regarded album by a Spice Girl. Free Me embodies a fun '60s motown sound, and gave Emma three more top 10 hits, including "Free Me" and "Maybe." Her similarly retro third album, Life in Mono, was a comparative flop, despite having the top 10 hit charity single "Downtown," a remake of the Petula Clark classic. She and her boyfriend had a baby in August.
Best known for: The retro cool album Free Me
Friends with: Justin Timberlake
Geri "Ginger" Halliwell
Geri was the flashiest member of the Spice Girls, so it wasn't such a shock that she was the first to ditch the group for a solo career, since in 1998, her prospects were the brightest. In 1999 she had a remarkable appearance makeover, ditching the red/yellow hair in favor of an elegant blonde look, became a United Nations goodwill ambassador, and launched her debut album, Schizophrenic, which gave her three #1 hits. She's also appeared on TV, including Sex and the City. She's got a kid too.
Music: As stated above, her debut album scored three #1 hits, and her second album, 2001's Scream if You Wanna Go Faster, contained the massive #1 hit "It's Raining Men," which became one of the year's best sellers and the only single by a former Spice Girl to be nominated for the Brit Award for single of the year. Her third album flopped in 2005.
Best known for: Remaking the Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men"
Friends with: Robbie Williams
Melanie "Sporty" Chisholm
Of all the girls, Mel C was the one who emerged as the most dedicated to her craft as a musician, and she's been the most prolific, having released four albums with varying degrees of success.
Music: Like everyone else but Geri, Mel C's first single was a collaboration, "When You're Gone" With Bryan Adams, which was a huge #3 hit in late 1998. Her 1999 debut, Northern Star, was well-received, spawning a #1 hit collaboration with Lisa Left-Eye Lopes, "Never Be The Same Again," and a second #1 hit, "I Turn to You." She's released three other albums in 2003, 2005, and 2007, although none have been as big a hit as Northern Star. Although not a hit in Britain, she hit #1 in several European countries in 2005 with "First Day of My Life."
Best known for: The frothy remix of "I Turn to You"
Friends with: The other Spice Girls; what other friends could one need?