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> Were Spice Girls a Flash in the Pan?, Is this just a phase, or will this be around forever?
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Dill Doe
post Mar 4 2021, 12:37 AM
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This is so annoying, as the laptop crashed just as I finished typing this all out, but here we go again!

The Spice Girls originally lasted only twenty months, plus an extra year in which they produced one of the worst girl band records in history, flopped, and split, and so we can't count that year for this question. Given that they only lasted less than two years, does it stand to reason that we must then relegate them to 90s fad status, just like the furbies, slimy goo aliens, X Files, and Craig David?

Let's look at the facts:

- The band lasted twenty months
- Their attempt at a third album ended in failure
- They all had successful solo careers, with each member scoring a #1, a feat that even the Beatles, Destiny's Children, or the Supremes couldn't manage, and they had fewer members! Their solo career success lasted until around 2007, a good ten years after their debut.
- The band attempted to mount a comeback like Take That, but this flopped.

So, on the face of it, with the band only lasting twenty months, they are a flash in the pan act. However, if we consider their solo careers to be an extension of the band itself, with a further 10 #1s coming from them, then they are not. Conversely, Take That were another 90s pop band, who were only marginally smaller than the Spices in the 1990s. They mounted a comeback just before the Spices, and they reignited their 90s success. They rivalled Leona Lewis, who was a pop juggernaut at the time, sold hundreds of thousands of copies in just the first week with both albums and singles, scored #1 after #1, and rivalled Leona for #1s, as well. The fact that they even dared to challenge Leona showed how confident they were. Moreover, the band had not returned in its full form; they were down a member, and their most popular member, their Geri, who was missing, at that. Take That, with their comeback becoming even more successful than their original run in the 90s, became the biggest UK pop group of ALL TIME. They even managed to release more albums under this new iteration that from before they split. In fact, even after a member quit, leaving them with 3 - their equivalent of GEM - they still went on to score #1s.

The Spice Girls weren't so fortunate. Take That released music that was far superior to their 1990s material. Barlow wrote modern karaoke and football stadium chant classics for the band, with excellent songs like, Rule the World and Patience, whilst Geri wrote ... Headlines (Telling You) (Friendship) (Never Ends) (If I Lost My Way? Edition) for the Spices.





Geri's Headlines is no Rule The World, the song that ran Bleeding Love close, and it is certainly no Patience; in fact, it is more of a You're The Other Part (Of Me) (Angel Down Remix). The song spent one week top75 and didn't make the top ten. Their Greatest Hits was destroyed by a re-issue of an old Leona Lewis album and barely scraped #2, just beating out the 10th week sales of Westlife's maudlin LP. Compare this to the Take That's multi week sales of over 100,000 per new song. However, that throws an extra question into the work: would the Spice Girls have been able to reignite their 90s success if they had found the same magic and if Geri had written material that was even better than their 90s songs, like Barlow did for Take That? The song she came back with had no spice, no flavour; as nice as it is, it is no 700k+ song. Had the Spices come back with more great material, would they still be a flash in the pan act? If Take That, which was slightly smaller than them in the 90s, could come back in such a way, why couldn't the Spices?

However, this is not the end of it all. The Spices have also been on two sold-out ARENA tours since their reformation. They had a world arena tour planned, which was also sold out, but in the end they couldn't be bothered to finish it, as they were singing old songs with no new material. It was all nostalgia, and they had lived it all before. The second tour only featured four of the five singers, and it also boasted a few nights at Wembley Stadium! Even with the band a member down, the tour and Wembley still sold out, just like Take That's shows with only 3 or 4 members. Does this tour, a decade after the Forever fiasco, prove they are not flash-in-the-pans, or does it have little bearing on that metric, as what counts is how popular their new music was?

So, put simply, given all of the information above: would you consider the Spice Girls to be a flash in the pan act, or do the long solo careers and subsequent tours dispel the very notion?
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schizo_spice
post Mar 4 2021, 01:16 AM
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If they are they are an extremely iconic and memorable flash in the pan.

Their memory will outlive many popbands who doubled or tripled their discography. 2019s stadium tour one member down with no new material spoke for itself.

I'd say they were a bit more than flash in the pan though. A group like Hear'say I'd call a flash in the pan. Three albums and 10 singles in their original run is about average or just below average really.
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Jay❄
post Mar 4 2021, 02:06 AM
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I'll start off with a fact check whistle.gif

- The start of Wannabe's promotion, through to the release of Goodbye, is a little bit over 2 and a half years... so we're talking 30+ months, not 20!

- As much as I'd like it to be true, not all 5 Spice Girls had solo #1s. The 4 that did had 8 #1 singles between them (which is great).

- Headlines spent 5 weeks in the UK Top 75 (four of those in the Top 40), not one week.

- Greatest Hits was released against Leona Lewis - Spirit's first week on sale as a brand new album, it was not the reissue.

- Westlife's album was in its second week on sale in the week Greatest Hits came out, not its 10th week. Spice Girls sold 75,787. Admittedly Westlife ran them close, 72,236. Bear in mind this was in the days of Monday release dates. Greatest Hits had 6 days of sales, Westlife's album had 7 because there would have been stores open on Sunday.

- The 2007/8 arena tour - tickets weren't put on sale in the countries that they didn't end up visiting, despite an initial promise to tour there (for example, Australia).

~~~~~~~~~~

Spice Girls' hey day may have been short, relative to how long some groups last for, but they certainly achieved a lot in that intense period of time.

For me, a fad / flash-in-the-pan would be the sort of artist who had maybe 3 decent hits and a successful debut album, but ultimately fizzle out and not be well remembered by the masses. So for instance, I would define the likes of The Honeyz as being a flash-in-the-pan.

On the subject of Take That... well, both them and Spice Girls were extremely successful groups of course, but Take That's success was somewhat more local in its reach - their most major success is at home in the UK, and they achieved decent success levels in Europe. Spice Girls were far more successfully globally, they reached a phenomenal level that Take That didn't reach themselves. Take That did indeed stage a big 00s comeback with contemporary music, and hats off to them for picking up where they left off and having the drive to do that. Sadly, Spice Girls clearly didn't have the same ambition to make new albums, so in that sense I find their comebacks hard to compare fairly. Spice Girls always focus on nostalgia, very successfully, but Take That went beyond the nostalgia.

Headlines vs Patience, I also find these singles very hard to compare, because they served different purposes. Patience was a career relaunching single, Headlines' main goal was to attract sales for a Greatest Hits. Take That didn't actually have a new single launch their 2005 Greatest Hits album.

The Leona discussion... as you note, both Take That and Spice Girls challenged her in 2007 and both lost out on #1s. I find it interesting that you frame Take That going up against her in a more positive light than Spice Girls...


Anyway, ultimately, no... I wouldn't consider Spice Girls to be a flash-in-the-pan. They were absolutely massive, they helped to define a decade in music, and they have stood the test of time in the sense that they are widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest and most successful girl groups in music history. It is a fact that their initial career was relatively short-lived (although that was totally their choice...). Crucially though, we're still here talking about them 25 years later, the media continues to be obsessed by Spice Girls because it's proved time and time again that the public has an interest in their reunions, and when they do tour they're extremely successful... selling out stadiums on the strength of songs that are 20+ years old, that's quite something.
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Sideout
post Mar 4 2021, 02:39 AM
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They will go down as 90's icons, but not as music legends. Their discography is too small and most think they were a manufactured group who had no input in their music.

This post has been edited by Sideout: Mar 4 2021, 02:40 AM
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Chemistry
post Mar 4 2021, 06:40 AM
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Obviously no.
They released Wannabe in '96 and it's still one of the most remembered songs of the 90's. Their back catalogue is iconic, they are constantly being refered to and are probably the most successful girlband of all time (and definitely the biggest UK girlgroup of all time), so to be honest, the question in itself is complete nonsense.

I feel you just made this topic to bash Forever again, calling it "one of the worst girlband albums in history" is just an opinion and it certainly underperformed, but I would not call a #2, platinum selling album, including a #1 single "a flop". JUst like their comeback wasn't a flop either. The Greatest Hits went double platinum and they had a highly successful tour, and then I'm not even talking about the 2019 tour.

They are one of the biggest pop acts from the last 25 years, who have had a short career but made history in those 2,5 years.
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vibe
post Mar 4 2021, 07:50 AM
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ICONS
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sammy01
post Mar 4 2021, 08:32 AM
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We are still here discussing them 25 years later that answers your question. Let alone they sold 700k tickets 23 years into their career to a sold out stadium tour.

No artists sold more tour tickets in the UK in 2019 than the Spice Girls, 23 years after Wannabe that's no flash in the pan.
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tommie
post Mar 4 2021, 08:47 AM
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I give this attempt at trolling a 3/10. Do better x
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Mr.X
post Mar 4 2021, 02:50 PM
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QUOTE(vibe @ Mar 4 2021, 07:50 AM) *
ICONS


QUOTE(tommie @ Mar 4 2021, 08:47 AM) *
I give this attempt at trolling a 3/10. Do better x


This
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Mr.X
post Mar 4 2021, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE(Jay❄ @ Mar 4 2021, 02:06 AM) *
I'll start off with a fact check whistle.gif

- The start of Wannabe's promotion, through to the release of Goodbye, is a little bit over 2 and a half years... so we're talking 30+ months, not 20!

- As much as I'd like it to be true, not all 5 Spice Girls had solo #1s. The 4 that did had 8 #1 singles between them (which is great).

- Headlines spent 5 weeks in the UK Top 75 (four of those in the Top 40), not one week.

- Greatest Hits was released against Leona Lewis - Spirit's first week on sale as a brand new album, it was not the reissue.

- Westlife's album was in its second week on sale in the week Greatest Hits came out, not its 10th week. Spice Girls sold 75,787. Admittedly Westlife ran them close, 72,236. Bear in mind this was in the days of Monday release dates. Greatest Hits had 6 days of sales, Westlife's album had 7 because there would have been stores open on Sunday.

- The 2007/8 arena tour - tickets weren't put on sale in the countries that they didn't end up visiting, despite an initial promise to tour there (for example, Australia).

~~~~~~~~~~

Spice Girls' hey day may have been short, relative to how long some groups last for, but they certainly achieved a lot in that intense period of time.

For me, a fad / flash-in-the-pan would be the sort of artist who had maybe 3 decent hits and a successful debut album, but ultimately fizzle out and not be well remembered by the masses. So for instance, I would define the likes of The Honeyz as being a flash-in-the-pan.

On the subject of Take That... well, both them and Spice Girls were extremely successful groups of course, but Take That's success was somewhat more local in its reach - their most major success is at home in the UK, and they achieved decent success levels in Europe. Spice Girls were far more successfully globally, they reached a phenomenal level that Take That didn't reach themselves. Take That did indeed stage a big 00s comeback with contemporary music, and hats off to them for picking up where they left off and having the drive to do that. Sadly, Spice Girls clearly didn't have the same ambition to make new albums, so in that sense I find their comebacks hard to compare fairly. Spice Girls always focus on nostalgia, very successfully, but Take That went beyond the nostalgia.

Headlines vs Patience, I also find these singles very hard to compare, because they served different purposes. Patience was a career relaunching single, Headlines' main goal was to attract sales for a Greatest Hits. Take That didn't actually have a new single launch their 2005 Greatest Hits album.

The Leona discussion... as you note, both Take That and Spice Girls challenged her in 2007 and both lost out on #1s. I find it interesting that you frame Take That going up against her in a more positive light than Spice Girls...
Anyway, ultimately, no... I wouldn't consider Spice Girls to be a flash-in-the-pan. They were absolutely massive, they helped to define a decade in music, and they have stood the test of time in the sense that they are widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest and most successful girl groups in music history. It is a fact that their initial career was relatively short-lived (although that was totally their choice...). Crucially though, we're still here talking about them 25 years later, the media continues to be obsessed by Spice Girls because it's proved time and time again that the public has an interest in their reunions, and when they do tour they're extremely successful... selling out stadiums on the strength of songs that are 20+ years old, that's quite something.




Basically all of this. Let's stop lame comparisons that lead to nowhere. Spice Girls were a phenomenon, a cultural one even beyond chart success - they literally changed the industry and influenced a whole generation. 25 years later, they still sell out a STADIUM TOUR IN ONE DAY!! Come on man....
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Feel_The_Fever
post Mar 9 2021, 07:55 PM
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I dont think they were in any way a flash in the pan and i think its reflected that over 20 years later they are still very well known.
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slowdown73
post Mar 10 2021, 12:34 AM
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QUOTE(Feel_The_Fever @ Mar 9 2021, 07:55 PM) *
I dont think they were in any way a flash in the pan and i think its reflected that over 20 years later they are still very well known.


Yes, they are well known but in terms of music releases, they didnít last long. Two big albums. A lot of it was media hype!


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Piers
post Mar 27 2021, 09:37 PM
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On an international level, no. They weren't a flash in the pan. You can get into the weeds in terms of sales/chart expectations, but ultimately, members were scoring top ten singles in several markets for more than a decade. That's a longevity that doesn't qualify as a flash in the pan.

In the US music market, I think the question's a bit more complicated. Because they arrived here in 1997, the US essentially just got a year and four months of the classic five-piece lineup. The group absolutely owned 1997. By 1998, the group's radio/MTV support was gone...but they remained huge throughout the year due to the movie release, Geri's leaving, and the tour. However, the drop in interest for anything Spice related in 1999 could not have been more steep and abrupt.

Despite the group being so massive a few months earlier, Geri couldn't manage a top 40 album. Mel C's didn't even make the top 200 in the first week. Then, Forever just barely scraped into the top 40...a wild thought considering the group had two albums in the top ten at the same time in 1998.

Of course, dramatic falls have happened before. Cyndi Lauper and Paula Abdul spring to mind. But actually, the Spices soared higher and fell quicker and harder than either of them. As big a fan as I am of the Spices...how suddenly, quickly, and dramatically they fell in the US after THAT start...does seem rare. Who even compares?

Granted, there are lots of reasons for the drop...between the girls' lack of promotion in the US market and the near total absence of radio/MTV support. But that's not so much excuses as much as reasons for such a swift and sudden fall.

They ARE unquestionably very well remembered, though. They're a permanent, substantial part of 90s nostalgia. And if that saves them from being considered a flash in the pan, then there ya go. (to be clear...I voted 'no')


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Mr.X
post Mar 28 2021, 12:30 AM
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Yeah, the lack of support started to happen around the release of Spiceworld, from what I remember, and firing Simon.

Simon had a massive grip on the press back in the day, he had deals with them which was rare but gave them an advantage. When Simon was gone, that was gone too so the press opened fire and at a time when they were literally everywhere! So the industry started to turn on them too.

The overcomercialisation really hurt them. They did so many adverts and merchandise, they got saturated.

Let's remember that the Spice Girls won Ivor Novellos and were nominated for a Mercury Prize in their debut era, two of the most highly regarded accolades for music acts. That's rare for a pop act like them, and they are also the most awarded girl band in Europe, if not the world.

They absolutely deserved better than they got after 1998, that's for sure. The lack of promo in America was a disaster for them at the time, and radio and MTV blocking them was weird (specially as they were still pulling the numbers in!). But ultimately, they sold out their last American tour and that wasn't even when Spice nostalgia was at an all time high. That's huge and speaks of another type of longevity.

They are legends of music and they are well remembered nowadays. Probably in a better light than back then too.


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Piers
post Mar 28 2021, 01:08 AM
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QUOTE(Mr.X @ Mar 27 2021, 07:30 PM) *
Yeah, the lack of support started to happen around the release of Spiceworld, from what I remember, and firing Simon.

Simon had a massive grip on the press back in the day, he had deals with them which was rare but gave them an advantage. When Simon was gone, that was gone too so the press opened fire and at a time when they were literally everywhere! So the industry started to turn on them too.

The overcomercialisation really hurt them. They did so many adverts and merchandise, they got saturated.

Let's remember that the Spice Girls won Ivor Novellos and were nominated for a Mercury Prize in their debut era, two of the most highly regarded accolades for music acts. That's rare for a pop act like them, and they are also the most awarded girl band in Europe, if not the world.

They absolutely deserved better than they got after 1998, that's for sure. The lack of promo in America was a disaster for them at the time, and radio and MTV blocking them was weird (specially as they were still pulling the numbers in!). But ultimately, they sold out their last American tour and that wasn't even when Spice nostalgia was at an all time high. That's huge and speaks of another type of longevity.

They are legends of music and they are well remembered nowadays. Probably in a better light than back then too.


Right. Their loss of US radio support could have been a number of things. Simon's firing might be it. I think we may have discussed this before...but my theory's always been that there were a number of US-grown pop groups waiting in the wings...and some powerful people in music might have wanted the Spices out of the way. It certainly felt that way in 1998...with the Spices outselling a lot of acts by a wide margin...yet the new acts were getting all the radio/video play.

In terms of their over commercialization, I don't actually think that was as bad here as it was in the UK. We got Pepsi/Move Over...but I think that's about it in terms of commercials. There was a ton of merchandise, for sure, though.

I'd also say this. As a kid, I felt there was a very pronounced shift in attitudes toward them when the Spice World movie trailers showed up. Before then, they had a few mostly liked singles. They were fun in interviews. They were badasses in Say You'll Be There. But I don't think the Spice World trailers played well to the US audience. I remember cringing watching them...staring at the trailer and thinking...what is even going on here? Today, I kinda defend that film on a certain level...and could probably write a thesis paper on how I think it was a camp fest intentionally built to be a midnight movie cult film someday. But back then? I remember that being about the time you had to start keeping your Spice fandom a secret.

But anyway. You're absolutely right that they're in a better light today. Everything that some considering grating (including the movie) is now overwhelmingly viewed as fun 90s nostalgia.
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