Ginger makes a dash for door Rock: The remaining Spice Girls are 'sad' about Geri Halliwell's departure, but, they say, they're not about to dissolve the group.

June 01, 1998|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

The Spice Girls will be a little less spicy from here on out.

Yesterday in London, it was announced that Geri Halliwell, better known as Ginger Spice, would no longer be a Spice Girl. Halliwell, who was absent from two concerts in Oslo, Norway, last week, ascribed her departure to "differences" among the five members of the group.

Halliwell's departure does not mean the end of the multi-platinum "girl power" group. In a statement read by a spokesman, the remaining Spices -- Posh, Baby, Sporty and Scary -- said they were "upset and saddened by Geri's departure," but made it clear the show will go on.

"The Spice Girls are here to say: See you at the stadiums!" spokesman Alan Edwards told the press, confirming that the group's tour will continue as planned.

Oslo was the last stop on the Spice Girls' European jaunt. On June 15, the quartet is scheduled to begin a 40-city tour of the United States and Canada in West Palm Beach, Fla., and will hit the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Va., on June 21. There has been no word on whether Ginger fans would be able to obtain refunds on concert tickets.

The Nissan Pavilion box office was closed yesterday, and pavilion officials were unavailable for comment.

Halliwell's departure ended months of speculation over whether the 25-year-old singer would leave the group.

Last fall, a British magazine reported that Halliwell was considering a solo career, but the first concrete sign of trouble came last Wednesday, when Ginger failed to join the rest of the Spices for an appearance on the BBC-TV program "The National Lottery Live." (Unlike American lottery drawings, the BBC show includes musical performances, and is considered an important showcase for pop acts with singles to promote.)

Despite gossip that the Spices were fighting, Halliwell's subsequent absence from the concerts in Oslo on Thursday and Friday was blamed on "stomach problems." Apparently, it was the rest of the group she couldn't stomach.

Although she was the last to join the quintet, Halliwell was widely perceived as the brightest and most dynamic of the Spices. She was believed to have been behind the group's decision to fire manager Simon Fuller, a k a. "Svengali Spice," and manage itself. Halliwell was also rumored to have been having an affair with Fuller before the split.

Halliwell's statement to the press gave no clear indication of her plans, beyond the very broad hint, "I'll be back." She also seemed to bear no ill will toward the other Spice Girls. "I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best," she said.

For their part, the remaining Spices plan to proceed as before. "There will be another album and everything else," Edwards said. "Spice will live for many years to come."

It's worth noting that this is not the first crisis the group has faced. When "Spiceworld," the group's second album, was released last November, initially sluggish sales on both sides of the Atlantic prompted speculation that pop fans had finally lost their taste for Spice.

But after the release of "Spice World," the group's feature film, in January, sales for the album increased dramatically. In February, both of the group's albums, "Spice" and "Spiceworld," wound up in the Billboard Top 10.

To date, the two albums have sold in excess of 9 million copies in the United States.

Pub Date: 6/01/98

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