The Spice Girls at 25

The Spice Girls at 25: Here’s the story from A to Z

By Mark Savage BBC music reporter

Spice Girls

It came out of nowhere. It changed the course of pop music. It was Wannabe – the scrappily brilliant debut single by The Spice Girls.

The record label had been worried. Wannabe was too weird, too anarchic. They hated the video. BBC Radio 1 was refusing to play it. Breakfast show DJ Chris Evans told the band to go back to kids’ TV.

But the girls knew better. “It’s not negotiable as far as we’re concerned,” they insisted. “Wannabe is our first single.”

And “if they decided they wanted to do something, then that’s what was going to happen,” Wannabe’s co-writer Richard “Biff” Stannard told the BBC.

History proved them right.

Released 25 years ago, on 8 July 1996, Wannabe spent seven weeks at number one in the UK and four in the US. In the process, it made five unknown girls – Victoria Caroline Adams, Melanie Janine Brown, Emma Lee Bunton, Melanie Jayne Chisholm and Geraldine Estelle Halliwell – global superstars.

Here’s a story from A to Z of how the band started, rose to fame, fell apart and put themselves back together again. So grab a cup of tea, slam your body down, wind it all around, and we’ll begin.