The Spice Girls burst on to the music scene with the in-your-face ‘Wannabe’ back in 1996 and they went on to dominate the world with their first two albums, claiming numerous awards and accolades along the way.
All good things must come to an end (temporarily at least) and as the girls were promoting their eighth single ‘Viva Forever’ in August 1998, Geri made the shock decision to leave the band. The other four girls declared this wasn’t the end but solo projects quickly followed.
Here is a timeline of how the Spice Girls went solo:
Sept 98 – Melanie B is the first Spice Girl to release a solo track as ‘I Want You Back’ debuts at the top of the Official UK Singles chart. An edgy slice of R&B pop, the track featured hip hop queen Missy Elliott and the video saw Mel’s brand new husband (and Spice Girl dancer) Jimmy Gulzar appear.
Dec 98 – Mel C features on a duet with Bryan Adams on ‘When You’re Gone’ which rises as high as no.3 in the UK charts and has since been confirmed as the biggest selling single by a solo Spice Girl by the Official Charts Company.
Dec 98 – Spice Girls claim their third consecutive Christmas no.1, their first as a four piece, with ‘Goodbye’.
May 99 – Geri surprises everyone by returning to music so quickly and releases her debut, cheeky track ‘Look At Me’. Complete with a new slimline look and long pale ginger hair, the video included a funeral scene in which she buries Ginger Spice. The controversy helped the song get to no.2, but it was held off the top spot by Boyzone’s ‘You Needed Me’.
Jun 99 – Geri’s ‘Schizophonic’ becomes the first solo Spice Girl album to be released. It peaks on release at no.4 and spends 27 non-consecutive weeks in the albums chart and has now been certified double platinum.
Jul 99 – Mel B releases her cover of Cameo’s ‘Word Up’ from the film soundtrack ‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me’. It was actually released under Melanie G to reflect her married name of Gulzar. It reached 13 on the UK charts.
Aug 99 – Geri shows off her Spanish heritage (and a little bit of Italian thrown in for good measure) on ‘Mi Chico Latino’ becoming her first solo no.1 single and making her the second solo Spice Girl to achieve the feat.
Oct 99 – Mel C’s first fully solo single ‘Goin Down’, rocks our socks off as she shows off a new short blonde cropped hair cut and a punky attitude. It peaks at no.4. The album ‘Northern Star’ is released later in the month entering and initially peaking at no.10 on the Official Albums Chart.
Nov 99 – With two Spice Girls yet to offer solo tracks, Emma is the next to emerge from the Spice Girls shadow. Like both Mels she does it as part of a collaboration with Tin Tin Out on their take on Eddie Brickell’s ‘What I Am’. She enters a chart battle against former band mate Geri’s ‘Lift Me Up’. With the media interest in whether the girls were still friends or not, it becomes a much publicised battle with the-artist-formerly-known-as-ginger triumphing and Emma having to settle for the no.2 position.
Dec 99 – Mel C releases the title track to her debut solo album ‘Northern Star’ it matches the no.4 peak of her previous single.
Mar 00 – Geri gains her third consecutive UK Singles Chart topper with ‘Bag It Up’. She also comes out of a giant pair of legs at the BRIT awards to perform the song.
Apr 00 – Mel C releases the mid-tempo track ‘Never Be The Same Again’ featuring a rap from TLC’s Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes. It gives Mel her first solo UK no.1 single. The popularity of the track sends the album ‘Northern Star’ back into the Top 10 in the UK.
Aug 00 – Mel C scores a second consecutive no.1 UK single with a danced up version of her album track ‘I Turn To You’ as she serves Ibiza vibes in the video. Hex Hector provides the single mix with notches it up a level. The success of the single sees parent album ‘Northern Star’ reach a new personal best of no.4 on the Official Albums Chart and helps it sell over 700k copies making it the biggest selling solo Spice Girl album to date.
Victoria Beckham is the last of the girls to launch her solo bid, and like Emma and the two Mels, her first release was not strictly solo as she guests with Dane Bowers on The True Steppers ‘Out Of Your Mind’. What follows is another hotly contested chart battle, this one against Spiller and Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)’. She narrowly misses out on the top spot, landing at no.2. Unfortunately she remains the only Spice Girl not to have a solo no.1 on the UK charts.
Oct 00 – Mel B releases ‘Tell Me’ which gets to no.4 and lyrically deals with her ex-husband after their short-lived marriage. Her debut album ‘Hot’, follows later in the month but peaks at 28 and spends just one week in the Top 40 Albums Chart.
Nov 00 – Spice Girls release their last studio album to date ‘Forever’ (as a four piece) preceded by the double a-side ‘Holler/Let Love Lead The Way’ it gives them their last of nine no.1 singles. The album ‘Forever’ misses out on the top spot to Westlife’s ‘Coast To Coast’ and spends just five weeks in the top 40.
Dec 00 – Mel C releases the fifth and final single from her ‘Northern Star’ album, the ballad ‘If That Were Me’. It becomes her first single not to reach the Top 5 when it peaks at no.18 on the Official UK Singles Chart.
Mar 01 – Mel B releases ‘Feels So Good’ as the next single from the ‘Hot’ album and it peaks at no.5. Mel wrote the track with Janet Jackson’s longtime collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Apr 01 – Emma Bunton releases her first proper solo single ‘What Took You So Long’ and it goes straight to No.1 marking her the fourth solo Spice to achieve the feat. Her debut album ‘A Girl Like Me’ follows and peaks at no.4
May 01 – Geri gets her fourth and final solo no.1 hit single with her take on The Weather Girls’ classic ‘It’s Raining Men’ from the film ‘Bridget Jones Diary’. Geri recreated the dance audition from ‘Flashdance’ for the video showing off her super toned yoga body and a short, blonde bob hairstyle. It puts Geri in the record books for the British Female Act with the most no.1 singles in the UK. A record she held until a fellow former girl band act Cheryl managed 5 in November 2014 and then Jess Glynne trumped them both and now has 7 to her name.
Later that month, Geri releases her second album ‘Scream If You Wanna Go Faster’ which peaks at no.5. on the UK Album Charts.
Jun 01 – Mel B releases the final single from ‘Hot’ as ‘Lullaby’, a tribute to her daughter Phoenix Chi, which reaches no.13.
Aug 01 – Geri releases the title track from her second album ‘Scream If You Wanna Go Faster’ which peaks at no.8 on the UK charts.
Sept 01 – Emma releases ‘Take My Breath Away’ as the next single from ‘A Girl Like Me’ and it gives her a third top 5 hit.
Meanwhile, Victoria Beckham’s much hyped proper solo debut single ‘Not Such An Innocent Girl’, sees VB in another chart battle, this time against Kylie’s ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’. Victoria has to settle for no.6 despite a cracking good twin/bad twin video.
Oct 01 – Victoria Beckham’s self-titled album is released and peaks at no.10.
Dec 01 – Geri releases ‘Calling’ the third and final release from ‘Scream If You Wanna Go Faster’.
Emma releases her final single, ‘We’re Not Gonna Sleep Tonight’ from her debut album. It’s a slightly reworked version to give it more of a party vibe and it reaches No.20.
Feb 02 – Victoria’s second single ‘A Mind Of It’s Own’ matches the no.6 peak of her previous release. The video sees her in a much more informal laidback look compared to her futuristic debut.
Mar 03 – Mel C precedes her second album ‘Reason’ with the more grown up rock tinged sound of ‘Here It Comes Again’ which peaks at no.7. The album goes two places better at no.5 and goes on to achieve gold status.
Jun 03 – Mel C releases ‘On The Horizon’ written with The New Radicals front man Gregg Alexander and Nick Rowells (Belinda Carlisle, Madonna), it got to no.14.
After parting ways with Virgin EMI, Emma’s second solo album is via her management company’s record label 19 Records. It seems Baby is all grown up as she serves us ‘Free Me’ a bond theme that never was, which shows her in a new sixties sex siren mode. It peaks at no.5 on the singles chart.
Oct 03 – Emma gives us the infectious ‘Maybe’ which peaks at no.6 and takes the 60s vibe further with the quirky video and dance routine.
Nov 03 – Mel C releases the double a-side ‘Melt/Yeh Yeh Yeh’ which gets to no.27 on the Official Charts.
Jan 04 – Now signed to Telstar/19 records, Victoria tries an interesting tactic releasing a double a-side single ‘Let Your Head Go/This Groove’ and asks fans to say which is their favourite style, it got as high as no.3 on the UK charts. The first being Kylie-esque dancepop and the latter more of an R&B slow jam. She had two albums ready to go in similar styles and was to choose one based on which of the two tracks got a better reception. In the end, neither album was released, instead an EP of six tracks was included on a DVD ‘The Real Beckhams’ which was a reality show about the Beckhams released in February. Interestingly this EP featured ‘Resentment’ which was then recorded by Beyonce for her ‘B’Day’ album.
Feb 04 – Emma releases ‘I’ll Be There’ as the third single from her ‘Free Me’ album which is also released this month and continue the retrovibes. Both reach no.7 in the respective single and album charts.
Jun 04 – Emma releases the fourth and final single from ‘Free Me’ album, ‘Crickets Sing For Anamaria’ which peaks at 15. It’s her take on an old 60s bossa nova track by Marcos Valle.
Dec 04 – Geri releases ‘Ride It’ the first taster from her third album ‘Passion’. It becomes her 8th UK Top 10 single when it hits no.4.
Apr 05 – Mel C releases ‘Next Best Superstar’ the lead track from her third album ‘Beautiful Intentions’. It gives Mel her 7th Top 10 single when it peaks at no.10. This is Mel’s first independent release on her own label Red Girl Records and the album follows that same month reaching no.24.
Jun 05 – Mel B releases her first new material in four years and takes us on a more laidback MOR guitar pop route with ‘Today’ which just misses out on the UK Top 40 peaking at 41. She also puts out the album ‘L.A. State Of Mind’
Geri releases ‘Desire’, her second single from ‘Passion’ it peaks at 22. The album just misses out on the Top 40 at no.41.
Aug 05 – Mel C releases ‘Better Alone’ as the second single from ‘Beautiful Intentions’ in the UK.
Sep 05 – Mel C releases brand new track ‘First Day of My Life’ in some European countries as the theme song to a new German language TV Show ‘Wege zum Glück’ and it becomes her biggest European hit, topping the charts in Germany, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. It was stripped on to her ‘Beautiful Intentions’ album in Europe but in the UK it was only given b-side staus on later single ‘Carolyna’.
Nov 06 – Emma releases her take on the Petula Clark classic ‘Downtown’ as the year’s official Children in Need single following her coming runner up on Strictly Come Dancing. It peaks at no.3 and marks the last time a solo Spice graced the Top 10 of the singles chart.
Dec 06 – Emma releases her third solo album ‘Life In Mono’, another retro sounding album full of great pop styles.
Feb 07 – Emma releases ‘All I Need To Know’ from ‘Life In Mono’ but shockingly, the beautiful ballad fails do dent the Top 40. No more singles are released from the album.
Mar 07 – Mel C releases ‘The Moment You Believe’ as her first European single from her upcoming ‘This Time’ album and it goes to no.1 in Spain.
Apr 07 – In the UK, Mel C releases her cover of Bow Wow Wow’s ‘I Want Candy’ as the first track from ‘This Time’. It’s also on the soundtrack for new comedy film of the same name, starring Carmen Electra. It peaked at no.24 and she releases album ‘This Time’ just after, but it becomes her first album not to go top 40 in the UK.
Jun 07 – Mel C releases ‘Carolyna’ as the next single from fourth studio album ‘This Time’. It was written with Steve Mac, famous for writing for the likes of Westlife and various X Factor alumni, but failed to crack the Top 40.
Nov 07 – Mel C releases the title track from ‘This Time’ in a slightly sped up version from the album version.
Jul 08 – Mel C releases ‘Understand’ as the final single from ‘This Time’ album in Canada only.
Jun 11 – Mel C releases ‘Rock Me’ as the first taste of fifth album ‘The Sea’, in Germany, but the track didn’t make the UK tracklisting for the album for some reason.
Sep 11 – Mel C releases ‘Think About It’ as the first UK single from new album ‘The Sea’. The latter has critics falling over themselves to declare it her best album in years; including Entertainment Focus!
Nov 11 – Mel C releases ‘Weak’ as the second UK single from ‘The Sea’. It was produced by Andy Chatterly would had been working with Nerina Pallot and Kylie.
Dec 11 – Mel C releases ‘Let There Be Love’ from ‘The Sea’ as the final single aimed at the German market. The track was a UK itunes exclusive bonus song so not on the standard version.
May 12 – Mel C releases an EP with DJ and Drag Jodie Harsh ‘The Night’ featuring three new tracks written by the pair.
Sep 12 – Following stints on productions of West End Shows like Blood Brothers and a new run in Jesus Christ Superstar, Mel C releases a collection of musical covers called ‘Stages’.
Nov 12 – Mel C unites with Emma Bunton on a cover of the Chess musical classic ‘I Know Him So Well’ most famously released by Elaine Paige and Barbra Dickinson from her ‘Stages’ album.
Aug 13 – Mel C features on a duet with former X Factor winner Matt Cardle on ‘Loving You’ which gives her, her first Top 20 UK hit in eight years.
Sep 13 – Mel B releases ‘For Once In My Life’ and it reaches no.2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart.
Oct 13 – Geri, fresh from a judging stint on Australia’s Got Talent, releases ‘Half of Me’ her first single for eight years.
Apr 14 – Mel C teams up with Peter Aristone to help on his single ‘Cool As You’.
Jul 16 – Mel C features on Sons of Sonix track ‘Numb’ introducing a return to a more electro dance sound.
Sep 16 – Mel C continues the electro sound with ‘Anymore’, the first official single from album number seven.
Oct 16 – Mel C releases her seventh album ‘Version of Me’ which reaches no.25 on the UK charts.
Nov 16 – Mel C releases ‘Dear Life’ as the second single from ‘Version of Me’, a track she wrote with long time collaborator Adam Argyle.
Apr 17 – Mel C duets with emerging UK singer/songwriter Alex Francis on new track ‘Hold On’ which is featured on a German film soundtrack ‘Unter Deutschen Betten’.
Jun 17 – Geri releases a tribute to her dear friend George Michael called ‘Angels in Chains’. It contains references to some of his songs in its lyrics including ‘Heal The Pain’, ‘Faith’ and ‘Young Guns’.
Oct 17 – Mel C releases ‘Room For Love’ as the next single from ‘Version of Me’ with a video that combines fan footage with Melanie’s live performances.
Feb 19 – Emma releases ‘Baby Please Don’t Stop’ one of two non-covers on her upcoming fourth studio album.
Apr 19 – Emma releases fourth studio album ‘My Happy Place’ and it narrowly misses out on the Top 10 peaking at no.11.
May 19 – Emma releases a duet with partner Jade Jones, their take on ‘You’re All I Need To Get By’ originally by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1968.
Nov 19 – Emma releases a one-off festive single ‘Coming Home For Christmas’.
Mel C releases ‘High Heels’ with drag troupe and famous LGBTQ+ club night, Sink the Pink.
Mar 20 – Melanie C releases ‘Who I Am’ as the first single from her forthcoming 8th studio album. The video sees her looking back at her career in a museum exhibtion including Sporty and spikey blond crop looks.
May 20 – Mel C takes us to the beat em ups im the video to new single ‘Blame it on Me’ – a fatality!
Jul 20 – ‘In and Out of Love’ becomes single 3 from Mel C’s upcoming self-titled album.
Sept 20 – Mel C releases ‘Fearless’ featuring Nadia Rose as single four from her new album.
Oct 20 – Mel C releases her self-titled album and it shoots straight in to the Top 10 at 8, becoming the first solo Spice album to do so since Emma’s ‘Free Me’ back in 2004.
Nov 20 – Geri announces ‘Rainbow Woman’ a project celebrating women throughout history. Not officially a single release but the new track was used as the soundbed to one of her videos.
Dec 20 – Mel C releases ‘Into You’ as the fifth single from her self-titled album. Interestingly this banger of a track is only available on the bonus disc of the special edition of the album.
And there we have it, a release timeline for the Spice Girls solo careers. There have been highs and lows, bangers and ballads, some are still going strong whilst others hung up their mics many years back.
I have collated all the singles in chronological order into one Solo Spice playlist. Note – unfortunately not all the releases are currently available on Spotify so there are gaps in the playlist.