Wannabe by Spice Girls was deemed as the UK's catchiest song after a study found it only takes 2.29 seconds for listeners to recognize it
"Wannabe" is the debut single by English girl group the Spice Girls. Written and composed by the group members in collaboration with Matt Rowe and Richard "Biff" Stannard during the group's first professional songwriting session, it was produced by Rowe and Stannard for the group's debut album, Spice, released in November 1996. The song was written, composed, and recorded very quickly; but the result was considered lackluster by their label, and was sent to be mixed by Dave Way. The group was not pleased with the result, and the recording was mixed again, this time by Mark "Spike" Stent.
"Wannabe" is an uptempo dance-pop song that features Mel B and Geri Halliwell rapping. The lyrics, which address the value of female friendship over the heterosexual bond, became an iconic symbol of female empowerment and the most emblematic song of the group's Girl Power philosophy. Despite receiving mixed reviews from music critics, the song won for Best British-Written Single at the 1997 Ivor Novello Awards and for British Single of the Year at the 1997 Brit Awards.
"Wannabe" was heavily promoted by the group. Its music video, directed by Johan Camitz, became a big success on the British cable network The Box, which sparked press interest in the group. Subsequently, the song had intensive radio airplay across the United Kingdom, while the group performed it on television programs and started doing interviews and photo shoots for teen magazines.
Responding to the wave of public interest in the group, Virgin released the song as the group's debut single in June 1996, well ahead of the planned release date of the Spice album. "Wannabe" topped the UK Singles Chart for seven weeks and has received a double Platinum certification by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The song was released in the United States in January 1997, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. It was the group's only number-one single in that country. By the end of 1996, "Wannabe" had topped the charts in 22 nations, and by March 1997 this number had climbed to 37. "Wannabe" became the best-selling single by a girl group in the world, with 1,385,211 and 2,910,000 copies sold in the United Kingdom (by 2015) and the United States (by 2014), respectively, and over 7 million copies worldwide by the end of 1997. In a 2014 study, it was chosen as the most easily recognizable pop song of the last 60 years.