"Viva Forever" is a song by the Spice Girls on their second album, Spiceworld, released as a single almost two months after the departure of Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell, in May 1998. It became their seventh number-one in the UK, and their first without Geri. "Viva Forever" is considered by music critics to be the group's best work artistically.
"Viva Forever" was originally supposed to be a double-A side track with "Never Give Up On The Good Times", but due to Halliwell's vocals on the track, its release was cancelled.
A short time after "Stop" was released, speculation grew as to which Spice Girls single would be next. In late March, the single was finally revealed as "Never Give Up On The Good Times/Viva Forever". Smash Hits famous "Bandwatch" section provided a close watch on the status of the single, and the first piece of news it gave was that one of the songs was to have a cartoon-based video.
Originally, the single was going to be released on May 11, 1998. Soon after, it was pushed back, in this first case to May 25, here is where the release date changes started going out of control. The release date was pushed back to June 8, in late April, and at this point a promotional cassette for "Viva Forever" appeared on the internet with no sight of "Never Give Up On The Good Times". In early May the release date changed again to June 29. A competition appeared in the Evening Mail (May 19, 1998) saying the following:
"10 copies of the video to be won. Each prize winner will also receive a Spice Girls T-Shirt and a copy of the new double A-side single Viva Forever/Never Give Up On The Good Times, released on June 29."
On May 27 the Spice Girls were due to appear on the National Lottery, and they were booked in to perform two songs on the show. On that night, the Spice Girls performed "Viva Forever" and "Spice Up Your Life", without Geri, the excuse being that she was ill. It was a highly unlikely decision that with a double-A side single planned, they would perform a song released over six months ago, instead of both of the double-A side tracks.
On May 31, 1998, Geri left the Spice Girls, throwing their plans into chaos. Although the status of the new single was never 100% clear, "Never Give Up On The Good Times" was ditched. The reasons of why the song was removed from the double-A side single has never been confirmed, although it was rumoured that there were problems with the remixes, that the video was not ready, and that with Geri out of the band they would have to re-record parts of the song, which would take valuable time out of the schedule, since they were going to start the North American leg of the Spiceworld Tour.
In early June, the single was confirmed to be "Viva Forever", with no explanation given for its missing partner on the double-A side front. The single was to be released on July 13, over two months after the original release date of May 11. Even though posters were printed showcasing the July 13 release date, it was not long before the release dates started changing again.
On the day of "release", stores around the United Kingdom received a notice saying that the single was not going to be released on July 13, and it would be released in a week or two. After the constant delays, the single was finally released on July 20, going straight to the number-one position.
The music video, which featured stop motion animation of the Spice Girls (including Halliwell), as fairies, was directed by Oscar winner Steve Box of Aardman Animations. Box was the key animator on Aardman's film Chicken Run, which also used stop motion animation. For the video, he created five, 12ins-high Spice Girl tin puppets with wings who coax one of two astonished real-life teens into growing up, and took five months to make, considerably longer than it took to make Spiceworld: The Movie. It was screened for the first time in the United Kingdom on June 22, 1998, the video includes scenes of Geri because it was commissioned months before her departure.
The video starts off with a storybook about two boys, who are assumed to be best friends, running around the woods when they encounter a case (similar to the case that is inside a Kinder Surprise, but life-sized) that opens by itself which reveals a toy chicken. The two boys chase after the chicken until they see another case, which the toy chicken bounces on. It opens by itself, and five fairies, the Spice Girls, come out.
While one boy continues to chase after the chicken, the other boy, who is presumably older, stays, and the fairies play with him, give him a kiss on the nose, whisper a secret, and other similar things. Then they fly the boy to another place in front of a medium-sized Rubik's Cube. The fairies dance on the cube, to the song, until the middle on the top opens. The boy, assisted by the fairies, climbs inside.
Meanwhile, the other boy sees the fairies about to close the cube. By the time he gets to the cube, his friend is gone, the fairies disappear, and the cube becomes toy-sized. He then walks in the woods by himself with the cube until he sees a giant coin vending machine which contains other cases.
A blue light shines in front of him and he puts the now-solved Rubik's Cube inside a case and throws it in the coin vending machine and walks away. It ends with the four out of the five fairies flying in the sky (the Geri Halliwell fairy separates), following the boy. Although his friend is missing from his life, and the fairies lost a fellow (mirroring Halliwell's real-life departure), the boy and the remaining four fairies will keep the memories of them "forever".
This video can be interpreted as one about coming to terms with the loss of a friend. Whatever the cause for loss, the person struggles with their emotions (represented by them trying to solve the Rubik's Cube). By the end, they have placed the cube in a case and placed it in a giant vending machine, which symbolizes that they will keep "forever" these memories as they move on. The video could be viewed as an interactive element on UK CD1, the first time this feature was available on a Spice Girls CD.
Some people think that the older boy in the video is a girl due to him having long hair. However, this was clarified in an interview (see http://en.allexperts.com/q/Spice-Girls-600/Viva-Forever-Video.htm).
It was very well received in Europe, garnering an extensive amount of airplay, peaking at number two in the Euro Hot 100.
In Italy the single debuted at number three, reaching number two for five non-consecutive weeks, being blocked from the first position by Des'ree's "Life" and Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", and stayed sixteen weeks in the charts. In Switzerland the single debuted August 9, 1998 at number six, reaching a peak position of three two weeks later, it stayed thirteen weeks in the top ten, twenty-two weeks in total, and eventually was certified gold by the IFPI. In Austria the single debuted at number fifteen, reaching a peak position of four for two weeks (their highest peak position since May of 1997 when "Mama" reached the top of the chart), staying ten weeks in the top ten and fifteen weeks in total.
In New Zealand the song debuted at the top, staying at number-one for two weeks, and eleven weeks total on the chart.
"Viva Forever" was the group last performance on television as a quintet, on "Top Of The Pops". It was also the first song they performed on television without Geri, on May 27, 1998 at the National Lottery.
The Spice Girls (4 girl line-up) performed this song in 1998 with Pavarotti in the annually hosted "Pavarotti and Friends" (Friends for the children of Liberia) charity concerts. The Pavarotti version is featured on Pavarotti's album called Pavarotti and Friends.
The song was re-imagined as a fiery salsa lament on The Return of the Spice Girls world tour in 2007. At the end of the song, Geri makes a platform exit off the stage, symbolizing her leaving the group. It is easily noticed because all spotlights go on her.
These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Viva Forever".
Australian CD: Individual Fairy Version Covers
Published by Windswept Pacific Music Ltd/Polygram Music Publishing Ltd
|Australian Singles Chart||2|
|Austrian Singles Chart||4|
|Belgian Singles Chart||13|
|Chile 100 Top Chart||1|
|Dutch Top 40||7|
|Euro Hot 100||2|
|French Singles Chart||18|
|German Singles Chart||4|
|Irish Singles Chart||2|
|Italian Singles Chart||2|
|Latvian Airplay Top||3|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||1|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||12|
|Russian Singles Chart||1|
|Swedish Singles Chart||6|
|Swiss Singles Chart||3|
|UK Singles Chart||1|
|United World Chart||3|
BWCA debate; Boundary Waters a `jewel we have to keep forever' Discussion with U.S. Reps. James Oberstar and Bruce Vento didn't make matters much clearer, but the group agreed on the need for preservation.(NEWS)
Aug 02, 1996; People have been fighting over the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) for decades. But a dozen citizens who gathered...