Archive for the 'Music' Category

Spice Girls

Simply the greatest thing to come out of the 90s, the Spice Girls dominated the entertainment industry during the second half of the decade and became the biggest thing on the planet overnight.

They transcended all races, sexes and classes as Posh, Ginger, Sporty, Scary and Baby went about making the world a Spicier place and spreading the message of Girl Power. You couldn’t get away from them, but then again most people didn’t want to either.

The pop princess first began performing together in 1994 and after a couple of years they released their first single “Wannabe”. The catchy tune made a bigger impact on the charts than an Icelandic volcano and Nick Clegg combined and went to number one in 31 countries.

The world went crazy for the fab five, and they had continued chart success with hits such as “Say You’ll Be There”, “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “2 Become 1”, which is probably the filthiest song of all time. Who would have though such smut could come from the seemingly innocent mouth of Baby Spice?

After conquering America the girls then launched the aptly-named “Spiceworld” album. Along with this came their movie which was probably the worst film ever made and the wooden acting from Posh rivalled that of Pinocchio, but we loved it all the same.

By this time I had been sucked in to the hype. The first cassette I ever bought was “Wannabe” which I played it to death and was soon followed by my first CD “Spice Up Your Life”. Whilst Newcastle posters adorned most my room, one wall was dedicated to the girls. I bought Spice Girls lolipopsFunFax and chocolate and loved them.

Everyone had a favourite and mine was Geri. Despite the fact she was ginger people liked her and she was seen as the most outrageous of the group. And then suddenly in 1998 she left the band. I was stunned and I don’t think my fixation on the girls was ever the same.

The remaining four began to change as Posh got involved with Becks, Scary went mental and Mel C struggled with her sexual orientation. After working on equally rubbish solo projects as they moved towards a more R&B style when they combined but the magic was gone and they just faded away towards the end of 2000.

Every year there were rumours about a reunion and it finally happened in 2007. However I was unwilling to stump up £80 of my-hard earned student loan for a ticket and my affection for the girls has dwindled, although I do sometimes have a sly listen to “Spice” from time to time…

Looking back the impact that they made was incredible. Across the globe people enjoyed the infectious songs, the camaraderie between the five and slamming your body down and zigazig-haing on the dancefloor. Ultimately when anyone looks back at the greatest decade of all time it is defined by the Spice Girls.


Blur v Oasis

The 90s was full of great head to head battles: Major v Blair, Tyson v Holyfield and Lisa Riley against fast food, but one of the most publicised conflicts wouldn’t take place in a sporting arena or the campaign trail but on Radio 1 and “Top of the Pops”.

Britpop was in full swing by 1995 with bands such as Pulp, Ocean Colour Scene, Suede and Cast at the forefront of British music, but the two big names dominating the charts were Blur and Oasis.

Blur had achieved major success with their 1994 album “Parklife” which stayed in the album charts for 90 weeks, and soon after Oasis released “Definitely Maybe” which became the fastest selling debut album in the UK in September 1994. With both bands releasing new albums in 1995 the rivalry would begin.

During the year the two bands had traded insults as their previous mutual respect had dissolved, and noticing an opportunity their two labels decided that they should compete against each other for the number one spot, and so in August 1995 Blur’s “Country House” would go up against the Gallagher brother’s “Roll With It”.

The battle was soon picked up by the press and it became a mini-UK class and regional war between the middle-class Southerners Blur and the working-class Northern lads of Oasis. NME summed it up well at the time when they said:

“in a week where news leaked that Saddam Hussein was preparing nuclear weapons, everyday folks were still getting slaughtered in Bosnia and Mike Tyson was making his comeback, tabloids and broadsheets alike went Britpop crazy.”

With everyone expecting an Oasis win it was actually “Country House” that came out on top, selling 274,000 copies and going straight to the top of the charts, with “Roll With It” entering at number two with 216,000.

However the Manchester lads would have the last laugh as their album “(What’s The Story?) Morning Glory” trounced their rival’s “The Great Escape” and became the third best selling album in UK music history.

Whilst neither song was either group’s finest piece of work, the battle helped put British music well and truly back on the map. The feud between the two has seemingly ended and coupled with the break-up of Oasis last year it seems unlikely that round two will ever happen.

Then again, if Rage Against The Machine can get to number one, Simon Cowell is actually straight and Jedward can get not one but two record deals, I suppose we shouldn’t take anything for granted anymore in the music business.


When anyone mentions boybands these days, the universal reply is one similar to “thank God they’re gone”. Whereas the Noughties was full of reality TV “stars” clogging up the charts, the 90s was packed full of a bunch of blokes dressed stupidly and dancing like idiots.

But deep down, everyone who replies in that way secretly misses them. There were so many in such a short period that you couldn’t get away from them, and their catchy lyrics are still firmly lodged in your head to this day.

It was easy to spot a boyband in the 90s. Firstly they would be launched and you couldn’t get away from them as they attacked all your senses. They’d all have a look, such as wearing similar clothes, but then also have roles such as the good boy or the badass. Throw in some elaborately choreographed dancing and there’d be a tonne of teenage girls screaming anywhere they went.

The early 90s saw the likes of Take That and East 17 adopt the trend already started in the US by New Kids On The Block, and the number ones, CD sales and sold-out tours followed. And so because a couple of bands started raking it in, many more grabbed a microphone and followed in their footsteps, and disappeared just as quickly. For every 911 or 5ive there would be a Northern Line or BBMak.

One mediocre band called North and South had their own CBBC show called “No Sweat” and this inspired a couple of my mates to create their own group called 101%, but the name was the only good part about it. Their only song was a cover of the Dad’s Army theme tune, and without the adoration of pubescent girls their dreams were shattered.

But it showed how popular boybands were. After Take That and East 17 split and girls across the nation shed tears meaning special Samaritan groups had to be set up, they were soon replaced by Boyzone and Westlife. My sisters loved both and posters of their favourite five pieces covered their bedroom walls, and my little sister even had Ronan Keating and Stephen Gately dolls.

I was more into the American boybands such as the Backstreet Boys and N*Sync as they had more of an R&B style to them, and instead of trying to strain our voices attempting to hit high notes like Britney, guys actually had something to perform after a few too many Stellas in a karaoke bar which is cheesy enough to be fun but also can show off our vocal range without sounding like a Chipmunk drowning.

With Gary Barlow and co making a successful return, these pop princes are all coming out of the woodwork again, with even A1 deciding that they can still cut it. With JLS proving that there is still a demand for the boyband, maybe a resurrection of the genre is beginning.

If there is one legacy that all these groups have left us, it’s the ability to drunkenly stumble onto a stage with a couple of mates and perform “Dirty Pop” and for three minutes feel like part of my own boy band, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

S Club 7

“Bring It All Back” indeed! I wish S Club 7 were still wedging catchy little pop songs into our heads, mainly because it would mean that the world would get to see a lot more of Rachel Stevens.

S Club were the coolest band towards the end of the decade. Firstly there were seven of them which was unprecedented – All Saints had four members, Westlife had five but no-one could compete with Tina, Jon, Paul, Hannah, Bradley, Rachel and Jo. The mix of boys of girls which was also different, and appealed to both sexes. And there was Rachel Stevens.

After the success of “Bring It All Back”, “S Club Party” followed and so began the trend of jumping as high as you could and making an S shape in the air with your finger. Then came “You’re My Number One”, a song we had to create a dance routine for and perform in front of the school (and I still have in my locker when drunk). “Two In A Million” followed, a song that always used to make me think of Rachel Stevens.

If you haven’t guessed by now Rachel Stevens was my first proper schoolboy crush. I used to always watch “Miami 7” just to see her, and I would steal my sister’s Smash Hits magazine just to have a poster of her on my wall.

I even got in trouble in primary school when I first learnt how to use Google Images, and printed off a picture of Rach in a bikini from an FHM cover to stick up in my desk, blissfully unaware of what a lads mag was.

“S Club” was a great debut album and it soon after “7” hit the shelves. This didn’t really do it for me, I was going through a hip-hop and rap stage at the time but I did like “Natural” where Rachel finally got her chance to show her vocal talent. Their only major hit to follow was “Don’t Stop Movin”, a classic tune that I always have to be on the dancefloor for.

But this was well into 21st century and that’s not the point of this blog. After Paul left the group in 2002 they began to flounder and split a year later. Jo, Paul and Bradley tried to reform recently as S Club 3, but with less than half of the original line-up in place it was pointless.

Rachel had her solo career but even with her stunningly good looks she needed the rest of the gang with her. Unfortunately, unlike the Spice Girls and Take That, a comeback looks unlikely.

But everytime the gang make an appearance on my iPod I just have to give them a cheeky listen, because lets face it – there ain’t no party like an S Club party!

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About me

Hi I'm Jonny, creator of this blog. Like most people in my generation, I feel that the 90s were indeed an epic decade and this is my tribute to all the things that made it great!