Ah, the 90s. It was a simpler time, when dungarees and clogs were all the rage (yes, I did own a pair of each) and we listened to sweet, innocent music. Long before One Direction Infection, or Bieber Fever, we had bands whose names didn’t rhyme with anything so it was difficult to show that you were a massive fan of theirs.
Every single girl in the world had a favourite Spice Girl. Yours truly was no exception. Every Christmas my cousins and I would go out to the hall of our grandmother’s house and pretend to be the Spice Girls. I was Sporty Spice (the less-tracksuited version, anyway) My cousins were Posh Spice and Baby Spice (because she was the youngest. We figured it made sense.) Girl Power took over the globe. There were dolls (I had all five. Seriously.) And a film. It wasn’t great. In fact, it was dire. But I watched it over and over.
I needed to get out more back then.
Geri ‘Ginger Spice’ Halliwell left the band in May 1996, but the remaining four members continued to record without her. The band announced a hiatus in December 2000. They returned to the studio in 2008 with their new single (Headlines/Friendship Never Ends) and in 2012 a musical based on their songs, ‘Viva Forever’ hit London’s West End.
The original Irish boyband, Boyzone came a long way from THAT appearance on The Late Late Show. They had a huge fanbase both in Ireland and in the UK. There were sell out concerts across the country, and two songs recorded for films (‘Picture Of You’ for the first ‘Bean’ movie, and ‘Shooting Star’ for Disney’s Hercules.) The band split in the early 2000s, with each member concentrating on solo projects.
In 2008, the Boyz returned, as a veritable Man Band. They toured Ireland and Britain (yes, I did go to the gig in Dublin. It was the day after my 16th birthday, how could I NOT go?) and plans for a second dominance of the charts. However, on October 10th 2009, band member Stephen Gately died due to an undiagnosed heart condition. ‘Brother’, released in 2010, was dedicated to Stephen’s memory. His final lyrics recorded on that album include the haunting phrase ‘I will learn to live before I die.’
Only in Ireland would one of the world’s biggest bands begin with a pleading phone call from Mammy to Louis Walsh. This is exactly how Westlife began- Mae Filan, Shane’s mother, rang Louis (who had grown up near her) and asked him if he would consider listening to a tape of her son’s band. What happened next made music history. From the release of their first single, Swear It Again in April 1999, the band took the world by storm. Their success stretched as far as south east Asia. The band had a 14 year career, which produced ten studio albums, two greatest hits records, thirty-four singles and fourteen UK number one hits.
On October 19th 2011, the now four-piece Westlife broke hearts across the globe and announced that they were to split after fourteen years together. They released a Greatest Hits album and toured the world for the last time. The band played their final concert in Dublin’s Croke Park to a sell out crowd of over 82,000 people.
American five-piece Backstreet Boys formed in Florida in 1993. Their self-titled first album was released internationally in 1996 and was the first of seven albums the band would release around the world. In my opinion, this band was a rarity- a band where all five members had solos.
In May 2011, Backstreet Boys and New Kids On The Block began a joint tour of 51 shows. The following year, original band member Kevin Richardson rejoined the group and the Boys entered the studios in July 2012 to record their eighth album.
So, forget about your One Direction, or Bieber. I’m a 90s kid to the end, cos I Want It That Way.