|Single by Spice Girls|
|from the album Forever|
|Released||11 December 1998|
|Recorded||15-18 July 1998|
|Spice Girls singles chronology|
"Goodbye" is a song recorded by British girl group Spice Girls. It was written by the group, Richard Stannard and Matt Rowe, while it was produced by the latter two. The song became the girls' first song without the vocals of Geri Halliwell. It was released by Virgin Records on 11 December 1998, and was later included on their third studio album Forever (2000). "Goodbye" is a pop ballad which lyrically consists on the group's farewell to a friend, specifically Halliwell. The lyrics were also seen by the media and fans alike as the group's end, although it was dismissed by the girls.
"Goodbye" received positive reviews from music commentators, who said it was one of the group's best singles. The song was a commercial success, peaking at number one on the UK Singles Chart, and making the Spice Girls the first act to have three consecutive Christmas number-one singles since The Beatles in 1965. Across the world, it was also commercially successful, reaching the top spots in Ireland, Italy and Scotland, and peaking inside the top five on the charts in Australia, Denmark and Sweden. Additionally, "Goodbye" peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
The accompanying music video for "Goodbye" was filmed at Mentmore Towers and featured pregnants Melanie Brown and Victoria Beckham. It features the group singing the song at a castle. To promote "Goodbye", the Spice Girls appeared on several television shows to perform the song, such as Royal Variety Performance and Top of the Pops, and additionally performed it on two concert tours, Christmas in Spiceworld (1999) and The Return of the Spice Girls (2007-08).
On 31 May 1998, member Geri Halliwell announced her departure from the Spice Girls. Through her solicitor she stated, "Sadly I would like to confirm that I have left the Spice Girls. This is because of differences between us. I'm sure the group will continue to be successful and I wish them all the best." Halliwell claimed that she was suffering from exhaustion and wanted to take a break. Her departure from the group made news headlines the around the world and became one of the biggest entertainment news stories of the year. The four remaining members were adamant that the group would carry on.
In July 1998, during the American leg of their Spiceworld Tour, the group decided to re-work on "Goodbye", which was written when Halliwell was still part of the group. For this, Stannard and Rowe flew to Nashville, Tennessee to meet the group and rewrite the song. In the Spice Girls' autobiography, Forever Spice, group member Melanie Chisholm said, "'Goodbye' was originally about a relationship ending, but now it's about Geri and it's really sad". Stannard denied this, saying, "It was about moving on and saying goodbye to the old Spice Girls. It wasn't Goodbye to Geri; it wasn't really literal. A lot of that song was written when they were touring in America. We wrote it in Nashville so I think it has that sentimental feel to it because everyone was kind of homesick and knackered".Melanie Brown further commented about the song:
"But it is a very sentimental song, and the first time I heard it I cried. That was the first time I've cried listening to one of our songs, the first time I instantly cried. It's got a full orchestra on there and it just sounds fantastic. [The song] is really obviously about what's happened during the year, with Geri leaving and then being strong. [...] of the group's pending demise. The song is called 'Goodbye,' but it's not goodbye-goodbye, cause the chorus actually is 'goodbye my friend, it's not the end.' So for all those people thinks we're breaking up, we're not. So correct that".
"Goodbye" was first released on 11 December 1998 in the United Kingdom, as a standard single and a maxi single. In the United States, the single was released as an extended play (EP) and contained only the B-side, a cover of The Waitresses' 1981 single, "Christmas Wrapping" which only featured vocals from Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton due to the pregnancies of Melanie Brown and Victoria Beckham, as well as live versions of "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" and "We Are Family", which were recorded at their Wembley Stadium concert on 20 September 1998. The American single also included a set of four stickers of the girls, portraying them as fairies, similar to their appearance in the music video of "Viva Forever".
"Goodbye" is a ballad which has the girls singing a "sugar-coated" farewell to a friend, Geri Halliwell, who left the group months prior. During the chorus of the song, the Spice Girls sing "Goodbye my friend/I know you're gone, you said you're gone, but I can still feel you here" and "It's not the end/You gotta keep it strong before the pain turns into fear", referring to Halliwell's departure. According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by BMG Rights Management, the song is set in common time with a key of E major. The girls' vocals range between G3 to C5. The song has a slow tempo of 68 beats per minute.
According to Dotmusic's Sarah Davis, as with their previous two end-of-year songs, "2 Become 1" and "Too Much", "Goodbye" is another ballad in which "the girls take turns at the lead with a chance to come together" on the chorus. In a similar vein, Chuck Taylor of Billboard commented that "this ballad follows in the spirit of 'Too Much'".Metros Joe O'Brien also said, "A gorgeously emotive affair, their third consecutive Christmas number one nails the wintry ballad sound that made all of the group's December releases sound suitably festive". Fraser McAlpine from BBC America noted that "Spice connoisseurs will claim that "Viva Forever" is the better song, and of course they are right, but this at least captures that feeling of a tribute paid to a lost loved one".The Guardians Peter Robinson also commented: "And is Goodbye really about the extraordinary power of pop music to bring everything right back, no matter what's happened since and no matter how much you might think you left your favourite pop band behind? Yes, that's exactly what it is".
"Goodbye" was met with positive reception by music critics. Chuck Taylor from Billboard called the song's melody "absolutely beautiful, in fact, one of the group's most memorable, with well-rounded harmonies". A review of Sputnikmusic considered the song "very tasteful and emotionally sweeping," whilst Tania Kraines from BBC Music said "the heartbroken post-Geri 'Goodbye' provided the girls with their last really good single". Fraser McAlpine from BBC America said that "this is the song they wrote after Geri left, and is also, coincidentally, the last decent thing they ever did as a group". British music magazine NME said "Goodbye" was a fine song in any age. During his review of Greatest Hits, Nick Levine of Digital Spy said, "Best of all is 'Goodbye', the supremely elegant ballad that became a post-Halliwell Christmas number one". While reviewing the same album, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic commented that the song was "actually a pretty good finale, while the rest is forgettable".
Sarah Davis from Dotmusic website commented that the "feelgood" chorus was "strong enough for this otherwise unremarkable song to be lifted above ordinariness". Whitney Matheson of USA Today, whilst reviewing their last studio album Forever, wondered, "who the heck ends their album with an old chart-topper? Is this -- like the repeated mentions of Carnie, Wendy and Chyna -- a subliminal message? Are the Spice Girls simply playing a game, or are they perhaps saying goodbye to their fans?". Alexis Petridis, a journalist from The Guardian, ranked "Goodbye" 16th on their list "All 43 Spice Girls songs ranked", stating that "calling your comeback single Goodbye was pretty daft - it suggests you have already thrown in the towel - but it was a decent enough song". Jason Lipshutz of Billboard also ranked the song as the seventh of "The Top 8 Spice Girls Songs" list, based on the songs' performances on the Hot 100 chart, whilst also stating that "the pangs of sorrow resulting in the realization that the Spice Girls' pop reign had effectively ended makes "Goodbye" a bittersweet hit".
In the United Kingdom, "Goodbye" was released in December 1998. On 20 December 1998, the song became the group's eighth number-one single, selling 380,000 copies in the first week. It established a record for them as the first act to have three consecutive Christmas number-one singles since The Beatles in 1965. "Goodbye" stayed at number one for one week, remaining inside the chart for twenty-one weeks, and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) only four days it was released, on 18 December 1998. As of December 2017, the song has sold 896,000 copies in the United Kingdom alone, and is their second best-selling Christmas single. Overall, "Goodbye" is the fifth best commercially successful single for the Spice Girls in the region.
Across Europe, the song was also successful. It reached number two on the Eurochart Hot 100, reached number one in Ireland, Italy and Scotland, peaked inside the top ten in Denmark, Finland, Greece, and Spain, and inside the top twenty in Austria, Belgium (both the Flemish and French charts), and Germany. "Goodbye" was also a success in Oceania. In Australia, it debuted on the ARIA Charts at number eight, peaking at number five in its fifth week, staying there for another week. It remained on the chart for sixteen weeks, and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). In New Zealand, it debuted at the top of the chart, remaining there for the following week, and was certified platinum by Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ).
In the United States, "Goodbye" debuted at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100, on the issue dated 26 December 1998. Although it was receiving radio airplay, it was not until its commercial release that it was able to debut on the chart, with 74,000 copies sold. The song was their seventh single to chart, and their best debut since "2 Become 1", which debuted at number six in 1997. "Goodbye" spent eleven weeks on the Hot 100, and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In Canada, the song reached number fifteen on the RPM Top Singles chart, becoming the girls' seventh top 10 hit. Meanwhile, it peaked at number one on the Canadian Singles Chart, published by Billboard magazine.
The accompanying music video for "Goodbye" was filmed at Mentmore Towers in Mentmore, Buckinghamshire on 1 and 2 November 1998, being directed by Howard Greenhalgh, who previously directed their music video for "Too Much" (1997). It was premiered through MTV on 20 November 1998. Brown and Beckham were pregnant during the filming of this video. It opens with each of the girls in four different black cars: 1957 Cadillac Fleetwood 75, 1941 Cadillac Fleetwood 75, 1955 Imperial Newport, 1958 Imperial Crown, and white wolves running. They arrive at a castle and walk up the stairs arm-in-arm. When they enter within dry ice clouds, there are frozen couples that the girls observe. The video also shows shots of each girl inside the castle in a different setting with falling objects, namely sheets of paper (Beckham), toilet paper rolls (Bunton), plates (Brown), and an exploding chandelier (Chisholm). Additionally, they are seen singing the song together as a group. The video ends with the ice melting off the people as they come back to life, then shows the shot of the girls entering in reverse to look like they are leaving.
The first live performance of "Goodbye" was on Channel 5's Pepsi Chart, before the single's commercial release. The group followed with performances of the song on Royal Variety Performance, where they sang sat down so the pregnant members, Victoria Beckham and Melanie Brown, did not have to dance. They went on to perform "Goodbye" on Children in Need, National Lottery, Live & Kicking, CD:UK, and on Top of the Pops 1998 Christmas special. "Goodbye" was included on the setlist of Christmas in Spiceworld Tour, which had stops in London and Manchester in December 1999. The song was performed at the 2000 Brit Awards along with "Spice Up Your Life", "Say You'll Be There" and then-forthcoming single "Holler". During the ceremony, the Spice Girls received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2007 and 2008, the song was performed on Return of the Spice Girls tour. Geri Halliwell sang the harmony with the rest of the girls. It was the only song recorded without her vocals that she participated in.
These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Goodbye".
Credits adapted from Forever album liner notes.
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000*|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||896,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||600,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|United Kingdom||11 December 1998||CD single (CD1)||Virgin|
|United Kingdom||14 December 1998||CD single (CD2)|
|Japan||22 December 1998||CD single (CD1, CD2)||EMI|