ON THIS DAY: 1996: Spice Girls release debut single Wannabe

The Spice Girls

The Spice Girls

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They were five girls who shook the world - and 20 years ago today we got our first taste of the Spice Girls.

It was on July 8, 1996 that Sporty, Scary, Baby, Ginger and Posh zig-a-zig-ahhhed into the world for the very first time as debut single Wannabe hit the record store shelves.

Here's the story (from A-Z) of how Girl Power was unleashed on the world two decades ago...

Written by the group members with Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard during the group's first professional songwriting session, Wannabe was written and recorded very quickly.

The result was considered lacklustre by their label, and was sent to be mixed by Dave Way. The group was not pleased with the result, and the recording was mixed again, this time by Mark "Spike" Stent.

This version eventually made its way to release on July 8, 1996 - and proved an almost instant smash.

Despite receiving mixed reviews from music critics, the song won Best British-Written Single at the 1997 Ivor Novello Awards and for Best Single at the 1997 BRIT Awards.

With the video receiving heavy airplay, interest in the girls rocketed and responding to the wave of public interest, Virgin released the song well ahead of the planned release date of the Spice album in November.

Wannabe topped the UK Singles Chart for seven weeks and in January 1997 it was released in the United States, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks

By the end of 1996, Wannabe had topped the charts in 22 nations and by March 1997 this number had climbed to 37, becoming one of the best selling singles ever.

The group - Victoria Adams (Posh), Melanie Brown (Scary), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty), Geri Halliwell (Ginger), and Emma Bunton (Baby) - became overnight sensations and world famous across the globe and Girl Power was born.