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Sunday, November 7, 1999 Published at 17:57 GMT


Geri wins Spice war

Geri: Number one with the third single from her solo album

Geri Halliwell has won the battle of the Spices by beating former band mate Emma Bunton to the top of the charts.

Baby Spice Emma had to settle for second place after a week of furious promotion for both singles.

Geri's record sold almost 140,000 copies, while Emma trailed in second place with 106,000.

Speaking on BBC Radio 1, Geri said she was "absolutely gobsmacked".

"I am the happiest girl in England. I've got the biggest grin on my face."

"What a week I've had," said an ecstatic Geri. "I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me and sent me such goodwill, whether you bought my record or not. I am so happy."

Asked whether she had anything to say to Emma, Geri said: "I'd like to congratulate everyone. It was a fantastic week and it's been a hard one. Well done to everyone this week."

[ image: Bunton: Pipped at the post]
Bunton: Pipped at the post
For her part, an upbeat Emma told Radio 1 she was glad the "silly" media battle was over, congratulating Geri on her success.

Emma, 23, started out as favourite for the top slot when the pair released both their singles on the same day last week.

Her single, What I Am, is a cover version of a 1989 hit in collaboration with production team Tin Tin Out.

It is also her debut single and makes her the fourth Spice to launch a solo singing career.

Geri, 27 was promoting her third single from a solo album which many fans already own, so many thought she would have a tougher fight on her hands.

Ginger publicity

But the artist formerly known as Ginger Spice was undoubtedly helped to the top by publicity surrounding her relationship with DJ tycoon Chris Evans.

The ginger pair were quick to dismiss claims that the announcement of their liaison, artfully leaked to stimulate press interest as the chart battle got under way, was purely a PR stunt.

Geri and Evans arrived together in a silver Mercedes for a victory party at a trendy London nightspot.

The former Spice Girl posed for photographers, while Evans waited for her outside Portman Square's Home House in London.

Spice tensions

Emma and Geri both insisted the head-to-head battle - the fiercest since Blur beat Oasis to Number One in 1995 - was not deliberate.

[ image: Geri: New relationship or elaborate publicity stunt?]
Geri: New relationship or elaborate publicity stunt?
Geri branded the joint release date "unfair", claiming it would force young fans to pay out for two singles in a week, or else make a difficult choice.

The saga brought to the surface some of the tensions that exist between the remaining Spice Girls and their former comrade.

Before they hit fame in mid-1996, the Spice Girls had been together for about three years. Their image as a well-bonded gang was one of the group's main selling points.

But behind the girlpower image, tensions were soon rife. The band sacked manager Simon Fuller, and in May last year Geri left the group.

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