On July 27 in 1996, English girl group Spice Girls scored its first No. 1 hit on the UK charts with the single Wannabe.
The song spent seven weeks at No. 1 and still holds the record for the top-selling single by a girl group in the UK.
Wannabe was written by all the members of the Spice Girls – Melanie “Scary Spice” Brown, Emma “Baby Spice” Bunton, Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham, Geri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell and Melanie “Sporty Spice” Chisholm – with Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard.
Did you know it took them only 30 minutes to finish writing the song? “You know when you’re in a gang and you’re having a laugh and you make up silly words?” Chisholm told Billboard in a 2017 interview.
“We made up this silly word ‘zigazig-ha’. We were in the studio and it all came together in this song. As soon as we recorded it, we knew we wanted it to be our debut single.”
When it was released in 1996, the song set Spice Girls apart from the other girl groups.
Instead of the usual yearning for love, the girls conveyed messages about female friendship, independence and setting their own terms on relationships through the song.
In a recent interview on the Today show, Brown reaffirmed the song’s message.
“Imagine being with five girls. We all have our own opinions. Every song that we write we have a focus-point topic, so this song was all about supporting each other and if you have a boyfriend, that’s got to be approved by their friends.”
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