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Monday, July 27, 1998 Published at 02:02 GMT 03:02 UK


Spice Girls silence critics

The four Spices on their US tour

The Spice Girls have proved there is still life left in the band without Geri Halliwell by topping the chart with their new single, Viva Forever.

Many critics thought the all-girl group would split up after Ginger Spice's recent decision to quit.

[ image: Ginger Spice: Sings on Viva Forever]
Ginger Spice: Sings on Viva Forever
But their latest song - recorded before Geri left the group - went straight to No 1 on Sunday.

Viva Forever has sold 277,000 copies - nearly 200,000 more than the No 2 record, Just The Two of Us, by Will Smith.

A spokesman for the Spice Girls said: "That must be the clearest No 1 of the year by a long way."

The previous week's No 1, Deeper Underground, by Jamiroquai made it to the top by selling only 89,000 copies.

This is the seventh chart-topper in eight singles for the gurus of Girl Power, who are currently on their first American tour.

[ image: Fab Five: As they were]
Fab Five: As they were
The girls' previous single, Stop, had been their first song not to reach the top spot.

Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for the HMV retail chain, said little could stop the Spice Girls.

On its first week of release, Viva Forever was outselling its closest competitors by "about four to one", seeing off threats from Danish band Aqua.

"It seems by the strong sales this week that the Spice Girls don't need Geri," Mr Castaldo said.

Driving force

Ginger Spice abandoned the band last month in the middle of a European tour because of differences with her four fellow singers.

The remaining quartet adjusted their stage act and went ahead with the US tour.

Halliwell was credited as being the driving force behind the Fab Five, who have topped hit parades in 40 countries.

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