Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there
With Viva Forever the Spice Girls musical now on at the Piccadilly theatre in London’s West End it begs the question which Spice Girl would you like to find in your Christmas stocking?
The fortunes of the Spice Girls since their phenomenal success as a girl band in the 90’s have been mixed. But the launch of Viva Forever the musical following on from their appearance at the London Olympics closing ceremony certainly marks a spike in their career fortunes.
The Spice Girls were made up of Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice), Victoria Becham (Posh Spice), Melanie Brown (Scary Spice) and Emma Bunton (Baby Spice).
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The group sold over 65 million records and are the best selling girl group of all time. Their debut single “Wannabe” became the first of nine number-ones in the United Kingdom and reached the top position in 41 countries around the world. Other successful releases followed, including “Say You’ll Be There” and “2 Become 1” from Spice, and “Spice Up Your Life”, “Too Much” and “Stop” from Spiceworld.
Geri Halliwell was born 6 August 1972 and at 40 is the oldest Spice Girl and arguably the most voluptuous. Geri was born in Watford and attended Watford Girls’ Grammar School. She then attended college studying English Literature and Finance. Before starting her music career, Halliwell had worked as a nightclub dancer in Majorca, a presenter on the Turkish version of Let’s Make a Deal and as a glamour model before joining the Spice Girls, as a last moment replacement for Suzanne Tinker. Geri became renowned for wearing outrageous stage costumes and often garnered extensive publicity. On 30 May 1998, Geri became the first member to quit the Spice Girls when she left the group due to depression and differences between the group. The Spice Girls continued their North American tour without her.
In 1999, Geri launched her solo career and released her debut album Schizophonic, with the lead single “Look at Me”. Further hits included “Mi Chico Latino”, “Lift Me Up” and “Bag It Up”. In 2001, Geri followed up with her second album, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster.
In 2002, Geri featured alongside Pete Waterman and Louis Walsh as a judge on the television series Popstars: The Rivals which created Girls Aloud. She has released two autobiographies and two Yoga DVDs.
In 2004, Geri made a return to music with the single “Ride It”, which reached number four in the U.K. Her first solo tour of the U.K. was cancelled due to poor ticket sales. A new single, “Desire”, was released on 30 May 2005, reaching number 22 in the UK Singles Chart. The album Passion similarly received little attention from the public or critics, and stalled at number 41 in the UK charts.
In 2007, Geri signed a six-book deal to produce children’s books. In 2010 and 2012, Geri stood in as a guest judge on The X Factor and in 2011 she released her own range of bikinis through retailer Next.
Melanie Chisholm was born on Merseyside on 12th January 1974 and was known as “Sporty Spice”. She attended Fairfield High School in Cheshire and following school studied for a diploma course in dance, singing, drama and musical theatre at the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in Sidcup, Kent. Whilst at college, Mel C replied to an advert in The Stage by Chris and Bob Herbert, who were looking to form a new girl group, later to become the Spice Girls. She left college just short of completing her three-year course and gained teaching qualifications in tap and modern theatre dance. In 1994, she joined the Spice Girls (then called Touch).
Chisholm took her first steps in establishing a solo career in late 1998 by singing with Canadian rocker Bryan Adams on “When You’re Gone”.
In 2000, Spice Girls released their third and final studio album, Forever. The album featured their number-one singles “Goodbye”, “Holler” and “Let Love Lead the Way”. After the album’s release, the group went their separate ways.
As a solo artist, Mel C has sold more than 12 million records. She released her debut solo studio album, Northern Star in 1999. Subsequent albums include Reason, Beautiful Intentions, This Time, The Sea and, in 2012, Stages.
Mel C currently holds the third position for most United Kingdom number-ones by a female artist.
Mel C has also launched a successful musical theatre career with a leading role in Jesus Christ Superstar, touring into 2013. In 2009, Mel C starred as Mrs. Johnstone in the musical Blood Brothers by Willy Russell in London’s West End. She performed the role for 6 months and was nominated for the Best Actress in a Musical category at the 2010 Laurence Olivier Awards.
Victoria Beckham (née Adams) was born 17 April 1974 in Harlow, Essex and raised in Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire. Victoria studied dance and modelling at the Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom, Surrey.
Following an ad in The Stage in 1993 which required girls who were “street smart, extrovert, ambitious and able to sing and dance” Victoria successfully auditioned and joined The Spice Girls in 1994.
Since the Spice Girls split, she has had a limited solo pop music career, scoring four UK Top 10 singles. Her first single to be released, “Out of Your Mind”, reached Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and is her highest chart entry to date. Victoria married footballer David Beckham in 1999. They have four children.
Victoria has found more success as an internationally recognised and photographed style icon. Her career in fashion includes designing a line of jeans for Rock & Republic and later designing her own denim brand, dVb Style. Beckham has brought out her own range of sunglasses and fragrance, entitled Intimately Beckham. She has also produced a range of handbags and jewellery.
Melanie Brown was born 29 May 1975 in Leeds. She studied performing arts at Intake High School in Leeds. She worked as a dancer in the holiday resort of Blackpool, before answering an ad for an audition in a newspaper and joining the group known as Touch. The group left the original management team and eventually teamed up with music manager Simon Fuller to become The Spice Girls with Mel B being dubbed ‘Scary Spice’.
Mel B began her solo career when she released “I Want You Back” with Missy Elliott. The single charted at number-one on the UK Singles Chart, followed by the release of debut album, Hot. The album also saw release of top ten singles “Tell Me” and “Feels So Good”. L.A. State of Mind was Mel B’s second album released in 2005.
Mel B was on the judging panel of the 2011 the Australian version of The X Factor and she also co-hosted of the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars.
In 2004 Mel B took to the theatre stage in the musical Rent in the role of Mimi Marquez.
Born in 1976, Emma Bunton is the youngest of The Spice Girls, hence her nickname ‘Baby Spice’. Emma was born in Finchley, North London and attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marylebone. In 1992 she appeared as a mugger in Eastenders and in 1993 she made a brief appearance in The Bill.
Emma joined the Spice Girls (then called Touch) in 1993 after Michelle Stephenson left.
Following the break up of The Spice Girls her debut solo album A Girl Like Me was released in the United Kingdom in 2001. The album debuted and peaked at number four on the UK Albums Chart. The album featured the UK number-one “What Took You So Long?” as well as top five hits “What I Am” and “Take My Breath Away”.
Subsequent albums include Free Me in 2003 and Life In Mono in 2006.
In 2006 Emma was a contestant in the BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing, partnered by Darren Bennett and finishing third. She is also the host of the Heart FM Saturday radio show evening slot.
Viva Forever is the musical show in London written by Jennifer Saunders featuring the music and songs of The Spice Girls and is currently on at the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End, London.