Spice Girls Lose Another Flavor

The Spice Girls' most recent album died quickly on the charts; now, the British girl-pop combo seems poised to follow Forever to the grave.

Melanie Chisholm, a k a Sporty Spice, said today that she does not plan to continue working with Britain's biggest pop phenomenon since The Beatles, in order to focus on her burgeoning solo career.

Her decision may doom the group, which swept the world with its "Girl Power" rallying cry when it burst onto the scene as a quintet five years ago.

The band has already weathered the acrimonious 1998 departure of Geri Halliwell, a k a Ginger Spice, though it continued without her. The group's first album as a four-piece, last summer's Forever, has sold only 185,000 copies in the United States, a fraction of the sales of its first two albums.

Chisholm, 27, who is widely considered the best singer in the group, said in a telephone interview there were no plans for the Girls to try one more time.

While she vowed that "I'll always be a Spice Girl," she added, "I don't intend to do any more work with the Spice Girls. … Really, I've not been comfortable being in the Spice Girls for probably the last two years. It doesn't really feel that natural to me anymore."

She added, "I've grown up, and I just feel that I want to do things my own way and not compromise. … We were such a huge phenomenon, and there's not really anywhere else to go with that. It was a question of sacrificing our lives and trying to maintain the success, or just being honest with ourselves. We've all been very honest, and we all wanted to pursue solo careers."

Each member of the Spice Girls — Sporty, Ginger, Baby (Emma Bunton), Scary (Melanie Brown), and Posh (Victoria Beckham) — has pursued a solo career, though Chisholm has enjoyed the most success. Her 1999 solo debut, Northern Star, emerged as a big international hit, except in the United States. It has sold about 2.5 million copies worldwide to date, according to a publicist.

With global sales of 38 million albums since they broke through in 1995, the Spice Girls briefly reigned over pop culture. The quintet's high-energy anthems "Wannabe" and "Say You'll Be There" were ubiquitous, and it made a feature film (Spice World) and dominated the tabloids.

Reuters contributed to this report.