On this day in…1996

October 13, 2008

Spice Girls released their second single “Say You’ll Be There”

Though coincidental, it is rather fitting that Britain’s best new girlband, The Saturdays, are releasing their second single, “Up”, on the very same day that 12 years ago, saw the girlband who were at the time the biggest thing on Planet Pop since Take That also release their second single. That girlband of course was the Spice Girls. After spending a seven week reign at the top of the UK charts that summer with their million selling, anthemic debut effort “Wannabe”, Spice fever was hitting the nation big time, and the rest of the world would soon follow.

Already a massive hit in Japan by the time it came out back home in the UK, Ginger, Posh, Baby, Sporty and Scary as they were now affectionately known thanks to then Top of the Pops magazine editor and future founder of Polydor’s pop division Fascination Records, Peter Loraine, were however already being written off by their detractors. In her 1999 autobiography “If Only”, Geri Halliwell said that, “After ‘Wannabe’, so many of our critics were saying that we were a lightning bolt that wouldn’t strike twice.”

But within the industry, there was confidence that there’d be another huge hit on the hands of the girls, and both Virgin Records, their label, and Simon Fuller, their then manager and future creator of the Pop Idol format and brains behind S Club 7’s staggering chart success. “Say You’ll Be There” was actually reaped with far more praise than “Wannabe” got as a single, with many praising the slick and sassy production courtesy of Steelworks’ Elliot Kennedy as what made the song that bit more enjoyable than the shouty, in yer face-ness of their debut. The song in fact was one of their earliest recorded songs, as it was their first for the album that had been recorded along with album track “Love Thing” shortly after leaving their original managers, Bob and Chris Herbert of Safe management.

The video for the song, which picked up a BRIT award for Best Video and nominated for a MTV EMA for Video of the Year the following year, is also often cited as being their best. Filmed out in the Mojave desert at the beginning of September that year, the girls, kitted out in PVC catsuits and with wild hair, all adopted kung fu alter egos in a video that made more than a passing nod to old B-movies like “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” as Geri played “Trixie Firecracker”, Melanie C played “Katrina High Kick”, Victoria played “Midnight Miss Suki”, Melanie B played “Blazin’ Bad Zula” and Emma played “Kung Fu Candy” as they tormented men in exchange for their cars.

Needless to say, it caught on with the public once more, and the single gave the girls their second UK chart topper by the time the following Sunday rolled round. In the space of a month the single would go onto sell in excess of 400,000 copies in the UK alone, and then another 300,000 by the year’s end, making it the 4th biggest selling single of that year, just a couple of positions behind “Wannabe” which was the second biggest selling of that year with sales of just over a million copies. It all stood up in good stead for their debut album, “Spice”, which upon it’s release a few weeks after “Say You’ll Be There” also thundered to the top of the charts and spent no less than two months at the top of the UK album chart. It’s true to say then, that after this single, Britain was well and truly about to become Spiced up.


One comment

  1. Another great article you made!

    Very accruate and factual!


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