Answers to readers' questions about the Spice Girls, Jem and Jackson Browne

GREATEST SPICES

Hey Keith,

Thanks for answering my "Garbage" question a few weeks ago and now I'm very excited about the greatest hits compilation -- hopefully it'll be out soon.

Now, here is a totally different group that I want to ask you about -- the Spice Girls. I read in a British magazine on the Web that the Spice Girls were going to release a greatest hits album as well. It seems kind of weird -- I mean, they have been out of the public eye for years now and for them to comeback and be as big as before sounds to me kind of impossible. They are each working on their own, so is there a chance of this greatest hits thing actually happening? And can you tell me their sales up to this date with their three records?

Thanks,
Andres Escobar
Miami Beach, Fla.


Hi Andres,

The timing of your question is impeccable.

The Spice Girls' debut single, "Wannabe," was released 10 years ago this month in the U.K. It of course immediately went to No. 1 -- the first of nine chart --toppers in that country for the pop act.

I've heard rumblings about the release of a greatest hits set this year in order to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of "Wannabe" and the act's debut album "Spice." There's no word on if or when this album may be issued, nor what might be on the collection.

In the U.K., the group released 10 singles -- all but one hit No. 1. They are: "Wannabe," "Say You'll Be There," "2 Become 1," "Mama/Who Do You Think You Are," "Spice Up Your Life," "Too Much," "Stop" (their lone No. 2 hit), "Viva Forever," "Goodbye" and "Holler/Let Love Lead The Way." In the U.S., the group had 7 consecutive top 20 singles in 1997-1998.

On top of all of this, the five members of the group (Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Halliwell) all went on to have notable solo successes. Collectively, the five ladies have racked up 28 top 10 singles in the U.K. with their solo efforts.

The act's biggest selling album in the U.S. is naturally "Spice." It has sold a whopping 7.4 million according to Nielsen SoundScan -- and it was the top selling album in America in 1997. "Spiceworld" is second with 4.1 million. The group's "Forever" album pretty much tanked in America, selling only 207,000.



VIOLET JEM

Keith,

Towards the end of the trailer for the movie "Ultraviolet" there is a song by a group with a female singer. Can you identify this group?

Thanks for your help,
Daniel Hancock


Hi Daniel,

The song you heard is "24" by the solo female artist Jem. The track can be found on her "Finally Woken" album. (You can view the "Ultraviolet" trailer here: http://www.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/ultraviolet/)

The set peaked at No. 11 on the Top Heatseekers chart and hung around on the chart for 46 weeks. It has sold 288,000 units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Jem's music has been heard in a number of TV shows and movies, including "The O.C." and "Grey's Anatomy." She is currently at work on a new album.

For more information on Jem and her music, visit her official Web site at jem-music.net.



PIANO MEN

Keith,

About a month ago, I started hearing a song on the local soft rock station I listen to. I cannot find the name of the song or the band anywhere and I haven't heard it recently. Can you help?

It sounds almost like Billy Joel starting off with a solo performance singing about wanting the roadies to load his piano last of all so he can continue to play. Then other singers and instruments are added with the same plea that the audience stays "just a little bit longer." It sounded like a live performance and I would very much like to buy the CD. Again, can you help with the song or band name?

Thanks in advance,

Richard Hartman
Baton Rouge, La.


Hi Richard,

What you heard is most likely a medley of "The Load-Out" and "Stay" by Jackson Browne. The songs are from his 1977 album "Running On Empty."

The double-sided single hit No. 20 on The Billboard Hot 100 back in 1978 while the "Running On Empty" album reached No. 3 on The Billboard 200. It's Browne's biggest selling album, having been certified seven-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (riaa.com). "Empty" also earned a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year (though it lost to the soundtrack from "Saturday Night Fever").

For more information on Browne, check out his Web site at jacksonbrowne.com.