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BIODATA Five young British women known as the Spice Girls have taken the world by storm with their infectious pop music and brash attitude, dubbed "girl power" by the group members -- a combination of sexiness, confidence, strength and individuality. Illustrating the Spice Girls' global success, their smash hit single "Wannabe" reigned at No.1 on the British pop charts for seven weeks, and topped the charts in 22 other countries -- selling a million units in England, and almost three million units worldwide.

The debut album, Spice, featured 10 songs -- all of them written by the group members -- highlighting the talents of: Mel B. (a.k.a. Melanie Brown), a hip-hop lover from the northern English city of Leeds; Mel C. (Melanie Chisholm), soccer fanatic and all-around athlete from Liverpool; London native Victoria Adams, the group's resident fashion and style guru; Geri (Geri Halliwell), from Watford, near London; and blond-haired Londoner Emma Bunton, who at 18 years of age is the group's youngest member.

Working with studio mavens Richard Stannard, Matt Rowe and the production duo Absolute (a.k.a. Paul Wilson and Andy Watkins, whose previous credits include Al Green, Mica Paris, and Lisa Stansfield), Spice Girls have created an album whose feistiness is exceeded only by its sense of undiluted fun.

"The idea of girl power is really important to us," notes Emma. "We call the shots," adds Geri, but "pop music is about fantasy, escaping from the real world. We do things in a tongue-in-cheek way."

Their second album, Spiceworld, was released in 1997 and served as the soundtrack to their first feature film of the same name.