When the Spice Girls arrived on the pop scene nearly two decades ago and proceeded to unequivocally own it, the five-piece seemed to exist from another time and place entirely, and with instantly established identities drawing curious fans into the fold. The same can still be said of the Spice Girls, who existed in a well-remembered vacuum of pop music that produced less than 10 Hot 100 hits, but boy, did the ones that did make it out burn brightly.
With Girl Group Week rolling on at Billboard.com, it’s time to honor Ginger, Sporty, Posh, Scary and Baby with the Spice Girls’ eight biggest Billboard hits!
Note: This ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart through the tally dated March 7, 2015. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.
8. “Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)“
Hot 100 Chart Peak: No. 90
Peak Date: Nov. 24, 2007
Released as the only single from the Girls’ compilation album Greatest Hits, “Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)” was also the group’s only song to chart on the Hot 100 past its late-90’s heyday. Although the Spice Girls may have had an abrupt ending, this swaying ballad reconfirms that the ladies’ friendship did not.
Hot 100 Chart Peak: No. 11
Peak Date: Dec. 26, 1998
A full two years before the Spice Girls’ third and final studio album, Forever, was released in late 2000, the Geri Halliwell-less album was previewed by “Goodbye,” which would be the group’s last Top 20 hit. The pangs of sorrow resulting in the realization that the Spice Girls’ pop reign had effectively ended makes “Goodbye” a bittersweet hit.
Hot 100 Chart Peak: No. 16
Peak Date: July 4, 1998
Toning down the attitude of “Spice Up Your Life” and swiveling toward Motown, “Stop” was the final hit from the group’s Spiceworld album, and holds up relatively well 17 years later. At the 1998 BRIT Awards, the Girls even dressed up as their girl group heroes of the 1960s and busted out the “Stop! In The Name of Love” hand-sign choreography.
5. “Too Much”
Hot 100 Chart Peak: No. 9
Peak Date: Feb. 21, 1998
More pop fans may remember how to sing along to “Spice Up Your Life,” but the ballad “Too Much” was actually the only Spice Girls song from Spiceworld to crash the Top 10 of the Hot 100 chart. Not everybody loved “Too Much,” however — the single, which appeared in the Spice World film, was nominated for Worst Original Song at the 1998 Golden Raspberry Awards, alongside Aerosmith’s Armageddon anthem “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing.”
4. “Spice Up Your Life“
Hot 100 Chart Peak: No. 18
Peak Date: Nov. 29, 1997
At the time of “Spice Up Your Life’s” release, the Spice Girls were world-conquerors, making it the perfect occasion to command “every boy and every girl” to spice up their lives. The Latin-tinged dance track served as the ideal lead single to the ambitious sophomore album Spiceworld, powering the group out of their impossibly successful 1997 and into 1998.
3. “2 Become 1”
Hot 100 Chart Peak: No. 4
Peak Date: Sept. 6, 1997
Following their breakout success thanks to two uptempo smashes, the Spice Girls slowed things down on “2 Become 1,” perhaps the most perfect high school slow-dance song ever created. The manta “I need some love like I’ve never needed love before” led to another Top 5 hit for the Girls, who were readying a new album, Spiceworld, for a release less than two months after “2 Become 1” peaked on the charts.
2. “Say You’ll Be There”
Hot 100 Chart Peak: No. 3
Peak Date: May 31, 1997
If “Wannabe” introduced the Spice Girls to the world at large, “Say You’ll Be There” undoubtedly sustained that initial explosion with another enormously catchy hook and smart-but-simple instrumental arrangement. Props to anyone who can still name the girls’ alter egos in the “Say You’ll Be There” music video off the top of their heads — Geri Halliwell as “Trixie Firecracker” and Melanie Brown as “Blazin’ Bad Zula” are personal favorites.
Hot 100 Chart Peak: No. 1
Peak Date: Feb. 22, 1997
The Spice Girls’ only No. 1 single on the Hot 100 chart remains the group’s most iconic song: when “Wannabe” took off, so did the U.K. quintet’s U.S. pop takeover. The song stayed atop the Hot 100 chart for four weeks and made the entire world really, really, really wanna zig-a-zig-a.