Geri Horner has revealed that she and Emma Bunton had to fight a room full of male record executives who wanted to shelve the Spice Girls’ debut single Wannabe.
The song, which had its 20-year anniversary last week, proved to be their most popular, staying at number one in the UK for seven weeks, helping them break America and becoming the best-selling single by a female group in the world.
But Horner, known as Halliwell during her days in the band, said it was nearly replaced for a “safer R&B sound” when she met Virgin Record executives at manager Simon Fuller’s office in Chelsea.
Writing for Marie Claire, she said: “I was the only female there. Alarmed, I phoned Emma as back-up, and together we insisted that Wannabe be our first single, for one reason: because we, as a group, liked it.”
Having won that battle, they faced another challenge when it came to their famous music video, featuring the five in eclectic outfits dancing through the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
She said the executives were “probably horrified” by the video and demanded a separate shoot for the American market.
“We refused. This was our video, and this was what we wanted,” she wrote.
The 43-year-old was forthcoming about plenty of details about the making of their hit, including that it took just a day to write and Melanie Brown came up with the line “zig-a-zig-ahh”.
Ginger Spice said her first “wow-we-did-it purchase” was a 1965 MGB Roadster for £15,000.
But Horner revealed that she actually missed the first round of auditions for the band, joining the race when the managers were just down to 12 girls, and admitted doubts on whether she would have been successful from the start.
She wrote: “Looking back, I wonder if I would’ve made it if I’d been in line with all the hundreds of girls who initially auditioned.”
Horner spoke of her pride that Adele sang their song during James Corden’s Karaoke Carpool and said that after 20 years she is “proud to say we (the Spice Girls) are still friends”.
* The full interview is in August’s issue of US Marie Claire.