Whether you loved them or hated them: Sporty, Baby, Posh, Scary and Ginger were a cultural phenomenon that shook and spiced the world.
In celebration of their 2019 UK Spice World tour, we’ve compiled a list of moments that made the Spice Girls, well, spicey.
THEIR BIG MOMENTS
The Brits 1997
We can’t talk about the Spice Girls without mentioning the 1997 Brit Awards, or, more specifically, THAT Union Jack dress. Geri made waves when she appeared on stage bearing the UK flag dress so short it did nothing to hide her underwear. The flag was a last minute addition to the performance after Geri declared the black Gucci dress she’d been given to wear “boring”. Instead, she had her sister sew a Union Jack tea towel onto the front. It sold for £41,000 in 1998. Not half bad for a DIY job done two days beforehand.
The Spice Girls reunited in 2012 for a one-of performance at the London Summer Olympic Games. Standing atop five iconic London black cabs, the Girls sang a mashup of Wannabe and Spice Up Your Life while their cabs lit up in patterns befitting each of their Spice personas - leopard print for Scary, the Union Jack for Ginger, pink for Baby, black for Posh and racing stripes for Sporty. They were the most tweeted performance of the night at 116,000 tweets per minute and to this day, Melanie C says it’s her proudest memory of being in the group.
1997 was a whirlwind of Spice. At the height of their fame, the Girls somehow managed to squeeze filming a movie in between writing, recording and performing. The resulting aptly named Spiceworld: The Movie is somewhat of a fever dream conglomeration of bizarre storylines and incredible cameos.
The movie itself is an incredibly self-aware satirical piece that knows the only reason people watch is because of the fame of its stars. As an adult, the film is a nostalgia trip, full of aliens and jokes we definitely didn’t understand back then. And, if all else fails, there are some wonderful drinking games out there.
THEIR WTF MOMENTS
The Spice Girls’ wild disregard for how things were done is one of the things that made them so iconic. Stumbling into their Girl Power mantra after facing sexism in the industry, they did things just because they knew they could get away with it.
Victoria and Jon Stewart
In 2001, while on the Late Show with Jon Stewart, the interviewer made a couple of jokes about the Girls now just raising babies - Victoria had just had her first son, Brooklyn - ignoring the album they’re there to promote, and Victoria said what many of us were thinking - “I don’t actually think you’re that funny”. Savage. Iconic. Spicey.
The Ballroom Incident
During a 1997 Rolling Stones interview in Taiwan, Geri and Mel C were unable to find a bathroom, and no one spoke English. So, they snuck off and found a pile of towels in the corner of a large ballroom. Unfortunately, I think you know where this is going. They pulled their pants down, urinated on the pile of towels, and left without a word. The whole interview is full of wild tidbits like this and is definitely worth a read for just a glimpse into Spicemania.
THEY RULED THE WORLD
March, Merch, MERCH
The Spice Girls were only huge as a five piece for less than two years from when Wannabe shot to number one to when Geri left the group, and yet during that time, they became the most merchandised group in history. Some of our favourite bits of merch are the “SPICE” pizza Victoria’s mum found in her freezer a couple of years ago [https://twitter.com/victoriabeckham/status/443757721914179584] and the limited edition single you could only get when you bought a can of Pepsi. The promotion saw Pepsi’s market share rise from 15.1% to 19.6% in less than a month!
Margaret Thatcher, the Original Spice Girl
One of the biggest scandals of the Spice Girls short career, apart from Geri leaving and causing the downfall of Girl Power as we knew it, was the implication that the Girls were Tories. Unsurprisingly, it was Geri’s unfiltered talking during an interview that lead to this misunderstanding. She declared Margaret Thatcher as the first Spice Girl in an interview while discussing how wonderful it was that a woman has ascended to the highest office in the country through hard work. Of course, in the background the other Girls are seen doing a mix of shaking their heads and actively disagreeing (Mel C commented that Thatcher was a “complete prick”) but the damage was done. Newspapers around the world declared the Girls conservatives despite their Girl Power message.
Geri and Prince Charles
Before meeting the royal family for the first time in 1997, the Spice Girls were given a lesson on etiquette. Presumably finding this as ‘boring’ as her black Gucci dress, Geri absolutely broke protocol by pinching Prince Charles’ bum when it came to her turn to greet him. Commenting that she actually just patted it, Geri expressed Spice Girls’ philosophy - to treat everyone the same, whether they’re royalty or a cashier.
So while the Spice Girls are now a motley combination of reality TV judges, a fashion icon and a couple has-been musicians, we will always have the memories! Bring on the Reunion, even if Posh is too posh to take part.