While the music world in the early '90s was dominated by boy bands that were inspired by the first and second Britpop invasion, two men placed their view outside the box. Father and son, Chris and Bob Hebert, saw the need of a break from the patriarchy mainstream and spurted the idea of putting an all-girl group that will give a good competition in the industry. An advertisement to seek talented girls who are able to sing, dance and have the 'it' factor was placed on The Stage in 1994 and responds were surprisingly well. Hundreds of potential, eager and hopeful young women answered the ad but five stood out among the crowd. Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell, Lianne Morgan and Michelle Stephenson were bound as 'Touch' and taken under Heart Management. Their first tasks were to create demos and do dance routines. It was became apparent that Stephenson and Morgan did not 'fit' in the group. Under many considerations, they were dismissed from the band that quickly took the anticipation to look for the replacements.
Melanie Chisholm was brought in and Abigail Kas was initially invited as the fifth member but it was Emma Bunton who became the last jigsaw piece to the band. Bunton was introduced to the other girls by vocal coach Pepe Lemer and as Halliwell put it, "Straight away I knew she was the one." The girls moved on to become a one solid act but they were not backed up with necessary management. In December 1994, with bleak future and little contract, they took the action themselves by encouraging Bob to set up a showcase in front of executives. Making a generally impressive performance, the band were about to sign a biding contract with Heart Management but backed out after a legal advise given by Adams' father said otherwise. Taking all the master tapes of their work, they parted ways with the company in March 1995 and headed to 19 Management which was fronted by Simon Fuller. Months later the girls earned a contract deal with Virgin and took the name Spice Girls in replacement of 'Touch'.
The work on the publicity began when 'Wannabe' was released as a single in July 1996. The energy of the song and their appearance in different personalities prompted the first wave of success for the band. It became one of the most recognizable and popular songs in the '90s, selling well over six million copies worldwide and becoming the biggest selling debut for an all-female group of all time. They even broke the U.S. market at the relatively young age as a band. Seeing that the reception was quite extraordinary, they quickly geared up the work of a debut album which was distributed in November the same year. In U.K., 'Spice' was sold 1.8 million copies within seven weeks while in U.S. it was certified 7 times platinum by RIAA in 1997. More singles such as 'Say You'll be There', '2 Become 1' and 'Mama' also received commercial success that the girls continuously made headlines. When featured in an article by tabloid Top of the Pops, each of them were given nicknames: 'Sporty' Melanie C, 'Scary' Mel B, 'Baby' Emma, 'Posh' Victoria and 'Sexy' Geri that they took. However, due to image considerations, Halliwell's was changed to 'Ginger' after her red hair.
In 1997, they were awarded Best Group in MTV Europe Music Awards and won a couple of others at BRIT Awards and MTV Video Music Awards that same year. Striking while the iron is hot, they released a second album in November 1997, prompting speculations that the rushed record was going to have a sophomore slump. Instead, 'Spiceworld' did as well as its predecessor in the market, thanks to its lead single 'Spice Up Your Life' that became their fourth #1 single in U.K. chart. There was soon demand from fans so that the girls would switch to on-screen actresses. It was materialized with 'Spiceworld: The Movie' that was distributed in U.K. in December 1997 and worldwide the next year. Given the benefit of their popularity, the movie raked in an approximate 10 million pounds in U.K. since its release in the box office. One thing led to another, the year also saw the girls saying goodbye to Fuller due to creative differences. It was all downhill from there.
While not ready for a replacement of their management team, the girls took the matter to their own hands. Self-managing the band proved to be a tough task for them even though they managed to proceed with their 1998 tour. Nevertheless, one member could not stand the pressure of fame and decided to quit the band. 'Ginger' Halliwell announced her departure from the band in May 1998, citing exhaustion and the need to take a break. "I remember knowing in my heart in the days approaching that I was going to leave," she said in later statement. "I just felt empty and that I'd given them everything I could. I felt like the band had got so big and the girls were almost like they didn't need me anymore. I definitely felt very redundant and like the wheels were turning without me there. I just felt I didn't belong anymore." Unfortunately, Geri's decision to quit came just few days before they were supposed to embark on a U.S. tour. The four remaining members somehow made it happen by re-rehearsing their moves and covering for Halliwell's voice.
'Viva Forever' their last single from the second album took its meaning when Halliwell left the band. The remaining members then recorded a tribute single in December 1998 titled 'Goodbye' that reached #1 on U.K. Singles chart. The next few years were mainly filled with work on their solo careers although a studio album called 'Forever' was released in 2000 to a moderate reception. Mel C began hers with a duet with Bryan Adams on the song 'When You're Gone' and had two #1 U.K. singles by 2000 while Mel B released an album 'Hot' in 2000 but was dropped by her label, Virgin, after the poor sale. Adams, who was by then acknowledged as Victoria Beckham, also did not do well with her solo self-titled debut, so did Bunton who enjoyed momentary success with her 2001 single 'What Took You So Long'. Before they knew it, each of the members went to separate ways in 2001 and never returned as a group until 2007. Rumors on their reunion had been surfacing throughout that year but the girls only made it official on June 28, 2007 through a press release. "I always knew we were going to get back together," Mel B said. "That was never a question in my mind."
A world tour was set to commence on December 2 in Canada and they released a greatest hits compilation that sport two new singles 'Headlines' and 'Voodoo'. The former song that was deemed their comeback did not perform well in the chart, comparing it to their previous hits as Spice Girls. However, their tour continued to sell out in most of the venues that the initially short tour became longer as demands poured in. "I think I'm going to cry through the whole thing because I'm genuinely happy to be back and have that support around me," Adams said when the reunion took shape.