WTF Fun Fact 13267 – The Spice Girls’ Nicknames

The Spice Girls is one of the most successful girl groups of all time. But did you know the Spice Girls’ nicknames came about because of a lazy journalist?

How the Spice Girls got their nicknames

According to Mel B, aka Scary Spice, in an interview with American Songwriter (cited below), the group was doing a photo shoot with a journalist who was struggling to remember their names. As a quick fix, he started calling them by nicknames based on their personalities: Mel B was Scary Spice, Emma Bunton was Baby Spice, Geri Halliwell was Ginger Spice, Victoria Beckham was Posh Spice, and Melanie Chisholm was Sporty Spice. The nicknames stuck and became part of the Spice Girls’ brand.

The band’s name was also changed. “When we first started [with the name Touch], we were pretty bland,” Mel C. told The Guardian. “We felt like we had to fit into a mold. And then we realized that we were quite different personalities, different to each other and to all the female groups in the past. We also realized there was a lot of strength in that.”

The “lazy journalist” speaks

Peter Loraine, the editor of Top of the Pops, is the “lazy journalist” in question. He later explained how the Spice Girls’ nickname came about, saying “I simply said it would be a good idea if they had some nicknames.

“Posh was the first one to be thought up because Victoria looks pretty sophisticated,” Loraine said. “The rest were pretty easy really because the girls’ characters were already really strong … The names jumped out at us...We laughed the most when we came up with Scary … because Mel B was so loud and had tried to take over our whole photo shoot. We ran the names for a couple of issues and the first time the girls saw them they thought it was funny. Then the newspapers started picking up on the names and they cropped up everywhere until they were fully accepted by everyone.”

Loraine never intended for the names to catch on globally.

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Source: “Behind the Group Name and the Spice Names of the Spice Girls” — American Songwriter

WTF Fun Fact 13252 – The “Paul is Dead” Conspiracy

In 1979, a rumor spread that The Beatles’ Paul McCartney had died and been replaced by a look-alike. The “Paul is dead” rumor claimed that the real Paul had died in a car accident in 1966. It also implied that the other Beatles covered up his death by hiring a look-alike to take his place. The rumor gained widespread attention and even resulted in a number of clues being attributed to the supposed cover-up in Beatles songs and album art.

The rumor was eventually debunked as a hoax, but people still believe in the conspiracy. McCartney has often joked about the rumor, including titling his 1993 live album “Paul Is Live.”

The Paul is dead conspiracy

The “Paul is Dead” conspiracy theory was one of the most popular and enduring urban legends of the 1960s and 1970s. The theory originated in 1969, when a man in Michigan called a local radio station. He claimed that he had discovered a series of clues in Beatles songs and album covers that suggested McCartney had been replaced by a look-alike.

The clues cited by Zarski and other proponents of the theory were numerous but obscure. For example, some fans claimed that the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover was a symbolic funeral procession. John Lennon represented a preacher, Ringo Starr a mourner, and George Harrison a gravedigger. Paul being barefoot and out of step with the others was supposedly a sign that he was dead.

Other clues cited by fans included backward messages in Beatles songs. These allegedly revealed the truth about Paul’s death. Various subtle references to death and mortality in Beatles lyrics were also cited as “proof.”

Despite the lack of evidence to support the theory, it gained widespread attention and became a global phenomenon. The rumor was also fueled by the increasing complexity and experimentation of the Beatles’ music, the band’s decision to stop touring and focus on studio recordings, and Paul McCartney’s own decision to grow a mustache.

Conspiracy theories are alive and well

The rumor about McCartney being replaced by a look-alike is somewhat similar to modern-day conspiracy theories about clones and look-alikes of politicians.

Like modern-day conspiracy theories, the rumor about McCartney’s supposed death and replacement was fueled by wild speculation. In these kinds of cases, there is little or no evidence to support the claims being made. Yet they continue to persist, despite being debunked by experts and researchers.

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Source: “‘Paul Is Dead’: The Bizarre Story of Music’s Most Notorious Conspiracy Theory” — Rolling Stone