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Sunday, July 19, 1998 Published at 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK


Chart test for Spices

And then there were four

The Spice Girls are facing a crucial test as Viva Forever, their first single since the departure of Geri, hits the shops.

How the single does will give some indication of whether the group have a future as a foursome.

[ image: Geri: optimistice about future]
Geri: optimistice about future
If the ballad Viva Forever fails to make its mark at the top of the charts, critics will feel justified in predicting the end for the post-Geri quartet.

The release of the track, the fourth single off the group's second album Spiceworld, has been delayed several times.

It was originally due out in May, and then two other dates in July.

Run of hits

[ image: Four on sell-out tour in US]
Four on sell-out tour in US
The four Spices will be aiming to beat the performance of their last single Stop.

The title seemed strangely prophetic, as it ended their unbroken run of number one hits. It narrowly missed out on the top slot, reaching number two.

Until then the Spice Girls had enjoyed a run of six number ones, starting with Wannabe and ending with the Christmas hit Too Much.

They had another taste of chart disappointment with the official World Cup anthem On Top Of The World by England United.

It peaked at number nine, before dropping down the charts.

Despite Geri's departure, she is featured on both the single of Viva Forever and the accompanying video.

The remaining four are on a 40-date sell-out tour of the US.

They return to Britain in September, when they are due to play at London's Wembley Arena and Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium.

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