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"Say You'll Be There" is a dance-pop song performed by the British girl group Spice Girls. The song was written by the Spice Girls and Eliot Kennedy, for their debut album Spice. Production duo Absolute incorporated a mix of pop and R&B in the song, which includes an harmonica solo, played by Judd Lander. The lyrics—which described the things the group have been through together and how they always have been there for each other—received mixed reviews from critics, who described them as "confusing" and felt that the R&B-infused production was a "bid for street cred".

It was released in October 1996 as the album's second single in Europe, and became the group's second number-one single in the United Kingdom where it was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). It was also popular across Europe where it reached the top ten in most of the charts.As a result of its popularity, the song was released in 1997 in Australia, where it received a gold certification by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA); and in Canada and the United States, entering the top five on both charts.

The song's music video was inspired by the films Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Pulp Fiction (albeit in sanitised form), and is an example of the solidarity of the all-female bond of the group, which includes symbols of male disempowerment. It received positive reactions from critics and was nominated for numerous awards including the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, and the 1997 BRIT Awards.

Writing and inspiration

"Say You'll Be There" was co-written by Eliot Kennedy and the Spice Girls and was produced by Absolute. The harmonica solo is played by Judd Lander, who also played the harmonica on Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon".

The semi-R&B groove song, according to Melanie Brown depicts about the group telling that it does not matter to say that you love them, the only thing that they care is that their lover give his promise that he will be there for them whenever they need him.

"Say You'll Be There" was one of the first songs that the group wrote after they left their former managers Chris and Bob Herbert, on 3 March 1995. The group stole the master recordings of their discography from the management offices in order to ensure they kept control of their own work.

The next day the group went to Sheffieldmarker to meet with producer Eliot Kennedy, a meeting that was arranged by the Herberts before their departure. The group persuaded him to work with them, becoming a productive session. They composed "Love Thing" and "Say You'll Be There", the two tracks would eventually appeared in their debut album Spice.

In December 1996 while topping the charts across Europe, the song became the focus of a controversy when the Israeli soldier Idit Shechtman accused the group of copying her song "Bo Aylai" ("Come to me"), a highly similar song released two years earlier in Israelmarker.

Critical reception

The song received mixed reviews, some critics praised "Say You'll Be There" as a catchy song, others dubbed it as merely a bid for credibility. Stephen Thomas Erlewine from Allmusic in a review of their debut album Spice, said about the song that "what is surprising is how the sultry soul of 'Say You'll Be There' is more than just a guilty pleasure".

Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly called the song "a bid for street cred". David Browne also from Entertainment Weekly wrote about the confusing lyrics saying "modern relationships are confusing, wait until you spend time with the Spice Girls 'Say You'll Be There'. Let's see: She wants to be friends, he wants more, and yet she croons, 'I'm giving you everything/All that joy can bring'? She's as confused as I am", adding "better to revel in the delectably frothy girl-group melody".

Ben Thompson from Amazon.com referred to the song as "both catchy and sexy" and that it "is easily the greatest song on the album equaling the work of any pop artist of the last 20 years, including more respected ones like Madonna".Sputnikmusic said that the song "continues the demanding bitch tendency of "Wannabe" adding "once again, there's a profoundly annoying synthesizer riff, and the whole song is as beyond redemption as it is catchy. It still tops 'Wannabe', though. But then again, what doesn't?"

Music video

The music video for "Say You'll Be There" was directed by Vaughan Arnell, produced by Adam Saward and was filmed in the Mojave Desert, located primarily in Californiamarker, United States. The selection for the video's milieu resulted in a very different setting from "Wannabe", which was filmed at the Midland Grand Hotelmarker in St. Pancrasmarker, an old district of Londonmarker.

The video features the group as a band of female techno-warriors, who use martial arts and high-tech ninja influenced weapons to capture a hapless male who happens to appear in his Chevrolet Corvair Rampside pick-up truck. The clip is presented as a narrative, with movie credits at the start introducing the Spice Girls as fantastic characters. The shots of male bondage are unexplained, and function as symbols of male disempowerment, just as the rest of the clip serves to assert the power and fighting abilities of the women, at the end the confused apparent pursuer is carried off on the roof of a car as a trophy. Other vehichles that featured in the video included a Plymouth Superbird (or a replica thereof).

The video was inspired by the films Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Pulp Fiction, the latter in which led the girls to adopt fictional identities, an idea that Halliwell came up with, Melanie Chisholm played "Katrina Highkick", Geri Halliwell's alter-ego was "Trixie Firecracker", Emma Bunton took on the role of "Kung Fu Candy", Victoria Beckham played "Midnight Miss Suki", while "Blazin' Bad Zula" was Melanie Brown's alter-ego.

The making of this video is featured on the vhs: One Hour Of Girl Power.Two versions of this video exist, there is the original, and a version that omits the scenes which include the man, played by Tony Ward, captured and tied down. The video won Best Pop Video at the 1996 Smash Hits! Awards, Best Video at the 1997 BRIT Awards, and was nominated for Viewer's Choice at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.

Chart performance

The song was initially released in the United Kingdom on 14 October 1996 once the popularity of "Wannabe" began to fade. It entered the charts at number one, the group's first single to debut at the top position, staying at the top for two weeks, twelve weeks in the Top 40, seventeen weeks inside the Top 75; and received a platinum certification by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). It sold 349,000 copies in its first week, 930,000 copies in total, and became the fourth biggest-seller of 1996.

The song also proved successful across Continental Europe, where it reached number one in the Euro Hot 100 and the top ten throughout. In Finland it was their second number-one single, debuting at the sixth position reaching the top spot the next week, and staying in the chart for six weeks. In France the single debuted on 11 November 1996 at number forty-five, the next week it jumped to the fourth position, reaching a peak position of two for three consecutive weeks, and remaining on the chart for eighteen weeks. In Norway the single debuted at number four, when "Wannabe" still was in the top three, it peaked at number two, and remained fourteen weeks on the chart.

In New Zealand it debuted on 10 November 1996 at number two, being blocked off the number-one spot by "Wannabe", staying ten weeks in the top ten and twenty-three weeks in total.In Australia, the single debuted on 26 January 1997 at number twenty-three, and peaked at number twelve thirteen weeks later, remaining on the chart for over five months and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

"Say You'll Be There" debuted in Canada on 3 March 1997 at number ninety, reaching its peak at number five in its twelfth week. It ended at the thirty-five position on the year-end chart. The single was released on 6 May 1997 in the United States, at the time the song set a record on the Billboard Hot 100, the main U.S. chart, when it debuted at number five on 24 May 1997, the highest-entry by a non-North American act. "Say You'll Be There" reached number six on the Hot 100 Airplay and four on the Hot Singles Sales, peaking at number three on the Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks. It ended at number twenty-eight at the 1997 year-end chart.

Live performances

The song was included in the set list for the Spiceworld Tour in 1998, the Christmas in Spiceworld tour in 1999, and The Return of the Spice Girls tour in 2007 – 2008, and remained the in band's live set after Halliwell's departure. The second verse had originally been sung by Ginger Spice (Halliwell) with Sporty Spice (Chisholm) adding the harmonies. After Halliwell's departure, Sporty Spice sang lead and Baby Spice (Bunton) added the high harmony.

The song was performed several times on television, including Top Of The Pops, Much Musicmarker, the 1997 Prince's Trust Gala, Saturday Night Live, and many television programs across Europe."Say You'll Be There" was also performed in the 1996 Smash Hits! Awards and the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.

Formats and track listings

These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Say You'll Be There".

  • UK CD1/Australian CD1/Brazilian CD/Japanese CD
  1. "Say You'll Be There" (Single Mix) – 3:56
  2. "Take Me Home" – 4:07
  3. "Say You'll Be There" (Junior Vasquez Main Pass) – 8:33
  4. "Say You'll Be There" (Instrumental) – 3:56


  • UK CD2/Australian CD2
  1. "Say You'll Be There" [Single Mix] – 3:56
  2. "Say You'll Be There" [Spice Of Life Mix] – 7:01
  3. "Say You'll Be There" [Linslee's Extended Mix] – 4:09
  4. "Say You'll Be There" [Junior Vasquez Dub Girls] – 8:29


  • European CD
  1. "Say You'll Be There" [Single Mix] – 3:56
  2. "Say You'll Be There" [Junior Vasquez Main Pass] – 8:33


  • US CD
  1. "Say You'll Be There" – 3:56
  2. "Take Me Home" – 4:07


  • Italian 12" Vinyl single
  1. A1:"Say You'll Be There" [Single Mix] – 3:56
  2. A2:"Say You'll Be There" [Junior Vasquez Dub Girls] – 8:29
  3. B1:"Say You'll Be There" [Linslee's Extended Mix] – 4:09
  4. B2:"Say You'll Be There" [Junior's X-Beats] – 8:30


  • US 12" Vinyl single
  1. A1:"Say You'll Be There" [Album Version] – 3:56
  2. A2:"Say You'll Be There" [Junior's Main Pass] – 8:33
  3. A3:"Say You'll Be There" [Linslee's Extended Mix] – 4:09
  4. B1:"Say You'll Be There" [Junior's Dub Girls] – 8:29
  5. B2:"Say You'll Be There" [Junior's X-Beats] – 8:30


  • Canadian Promo CD
  1. "Say You'll Be There" [Single Mix] – 3:56
  2. "Say You'll Be There" [Junior Vasquez Main Pass] – 8:33
  3. "Say You'll Be There" [Junior's Dub Girls] – 8:29
  4. "Say You'll Be There" [Junior's X-Beats] – 8:30
  5. "Say You'll Be There" [Kurt's Dub] – 4:25
  6. "Wannabe" [Junior Vasquez Remix] – 6:30
  7. "Wannabe" [Junior Vasquez Gomis Dub] – 6:36


  • Japanese Promo CD
  1. "Say You'll Be There" [Single Mix] – 3:56
  2. "Say You'll Be There" [Instrumental] – 3:56
  3. "Say You'll Be There" [Spice Of Life Mix] – 7:01
  4. "Say You'll Be There" [Linslee's Extended Mix] – 4:09
  5. "Say You'll Be There" [Junior's Dub Girls] – 8:29
  6. "Say You'll Be There" [Junior Vasquez Main Pass] – 8:33
  7. "Say You'll Be There" [Junior's X-Beats] – 8:30
  8. "Say You'll Be There" [Kurt's Dub] – 4:25


Credits and personnel

Published by Windswept Pacific Music Ltd/Sony ATV Music Publishing

Charts, peaks and certifications

Chart positions

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Austrian Singles Chart 7
Belgian Ultratop 50 8
Dutch Top 40 6
Eurochart Hot 100 1
Finnish Singles Chart 1
French SNEP Singles Chart 2
German Singles Chart 16
Irish Singles Chart 2
Italian Singles Chart 23
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 2
Norwegian Singles Chart 2
Swedish Singles Chart 4
Swiss Singles Chart 4
UK Singles Chart 1


Chart (1997) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 12
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 5
U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40 3
U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream 2


Certifications

Country Provider Certification Sales/shipments
Australia ARIA Gold 35,000+
France SNEP Gold 200,000+
Norway IFPI Gold 5,000+
United Kingdom BPI Platinum 930,000+
United States RIAA Gold 500,000+


Notes

  1. Judd Lander. Kirstymaccoll.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  2. Rob McGibbon book. Robmcgibbon.com . Retrieved 11 October 2007.
  3. Spice Girls song controversy. Highbeam.com . Subscription Required . Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  4. All Music Review. Allmusic.com . Retrieved 8 October 2007.
  5. Entertainment Weekly Review-1. Ew.com . Retrieved 8 October 2007.
  6. Entertainment Weekly Review-2. Ew.com . Retrieved 8 October 2007.
  7. Amazon Review. Amazon.ca . Retrieved 8 October 2007.
  8. Sputnikmusic Review. Sputnikmusic.com . Retrieved 8 October 2007.
  9. Vaughan Arnell. Bogodir.com . Retrieved 19 September 2007.
  10. Adam Saward. Mvdbase.com . Retrieved 19 September 2007.
  11. Video description. Chloe.uwa.edu.au. Retrieved 21 September 2007.
  12. Tony Ward-Say You'll Be There Video. Tony-Ward.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  13. Smash Hits Awards. Spicegirls.co.uk . Retrieved 21 September 2007.
  14. BRIT Awards. Brits.co.uk . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  15. MTV Video Music Awards. Rockonthenet.com Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  16. UK-Chart History. Chartstats.com . Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  17. Sales figures sourced from Music Week. Musicweek.com . Subscription Required
  18. Biggest sellers of 1996. Popreport.com . Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  19. French debut. Lescharts.com . Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  20. Norwegian debut. Norwegiancharts.com . Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  21. Spiceworld-Set list. Rottentomatoes.com . Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  22. Christmas in Spiceworld-Set list. Melanie-c-news.com . Retrieved 11 October 2007.
  23. Top Of The Pops-Performance. Themusicvaults.net . Retrieved 11 October 2007.
  24. Saturday Night Live-Performance. Tv.com . Retrieved 11 October 2007.
  25. MTV Video Music Awards-Performance. Mtv.com . Retrieved 11 October 2007.
  26. Formats and track listings. Spicediscography.tk . Retrieved 29 September 2007.
  27. Austrian Top 75 Singles Chart. Austriancharts.at . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  28. Belgian Ultratop 50 Singles Chart. Radio2.be . Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  29. Dutch Top 40 Singles Chart. Top4000.nl . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  30. Euro Hot 100. Thunder.prohosting.com . Retrieved 27 October 2007.
  31. Finnish Top 20 Singles Chart. Finnishcharts.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  32. French Top 100 Singles Chart. Lescharts.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  33. German Top 100 Singles Chart. Musicline.de . Retrieved 15 October 2007.
  34. Irish Top 50 Singles Chart. Irishcharts.ie . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  35. Italian Singles Chart. Hitparadeitalia.it . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  36. New Zealand RIANZ Top 40 Singles Chart. Charts.org.nz . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  37. Norwegian Top 20 Singles Chart. Norwegiancharts.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  38. Swedish Top 60 Singles Chart. Swedishcharts.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  39. Swiss Top 100 Singles Chart. Hitparade.ch . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  40. UK Top 75 Singles Chart. Theofficialcharts.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  41. Australian ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart. Australian-charts.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  42. Canadian airplay and sales charts. Jam.canoe.ca . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  43. ARC Weekly Top 40. Rockonthenet.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  44. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40. Billboard.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  45. Australian Certification. ARIA.com.au . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  46. French Certification. Disqueenfrance.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  47. Norwegian Certification. IFPI.no . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  48. UK Certification. BPI.co.uk . Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  49. USA Certification. RIAA.com . Retrieved 18 September 2007.


External links





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