High Variance

The Beatles and the Spice Girls

I know I’m not the first to notice that these two musical acts have a few things in common, but I bet the similarities go deeper than you think.

The Obvious

Both groups were young, attractive, and British. In the beginning, they played catchy simple pop songs and were incredibly successful. Both also made fun movies about the band running around getting in trouble and playing music (“A Hard Day’s Night” and “Spice World”).

The Members

The Beatles and the Spice Girls both had nicknames and you can even kind of match them up together. Paul was the Cute baby-faced one–kind of like Baby Spice. George was the Quiet one–kind of like Posh Spice. It starts to break down with Ringo (the Funny one), but we’ll give that to Sporty. And then there’s John (the Smart one) with no obvious counterpart. Ginger Spice left the band (was kicked out??) early on, just like Pete Best, and both events inspired the anger of many loyal fans. I remember reading about “Pete is Best” signs and chants when I was a kid. But then It turned out that Pete and Ginger were each the least talented of the bunch–I’ve tried several times to like Ginger’s (Geri Halliwell’s) solo efforts, but they sound awful even to me.

After the fact

Looking back, both groups had short but intense careers–the Beatles showed up in the early 1960’s and were gone by 1970 and The Spice Girls released all three of their albums between 1996 and 2000. But after their breakups, every single member went on to release solo albums. Paul McCartney and Emma (Baby Spice) Bunton both produced great work, while John’s brilliant solo career was cut short by tragedy. Victoria Beckham (Posh) also started a promising solo career with her terrific self-titled album (featuring “Not Such an Innocent Girl”), but bowed out of the music business too soon to concentrate on her family with David Beckham. And though most of the solo albums had their bright spots, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts for both bands.

Perhaps the biggest similarity is that even many years after their primes, both bands are still widely considered the best ever of their respective genres. Sure, manufactured-girl-band-pop is less important than rock and roll, but even so, the Spice Girls deserve some respect! Girl Power!