It may have hit the charts way back in 1996 (that’s over 20 years ago, everyone), but the brilliance of the Spice Girls’ Wannabe will never get old. All it takes is Mel B’s opening cackle to get us on the dance floor – and men and women of all ages are, even now, pretty much word perfect on the #girlpower hit.
But, while we may be able to sing (and, when called for, rap) our way through the lyrics, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we know what we’re saying. Especially when it comes to that iconic line, “I wanna really, really, really wanna zig-a-zig ah.”
Sure, we’ve had our suspicions: for years, now, many people thought that the nineties ballad was about women embracing sexual liberation – and that “zig-a-zig ah” was a radio-friendly word for… well, for orgasm.
But, as it turns out, everyone was wrong. Dead wrong.
So what does it mean then?
Well, one of Wannabe’s co-writers has explained that the line was inspired by a saying on set: “S**t and cigars”.
And it gets even stranger from there: the saying was actually a nickname that the Spice Girls had given to a famous musician they were sharing a Shoreditch recording studio back in the nineties.
Read more: How feminism went pop during the nineties
The anonymous co-writer explained to The Sun: “There was this one eighties pop dude who hated us for encroaching on what he considered ‘his turf’ which was boy bands and girl bands.
“This guy had this nasty habit of taking a dump in the shared khazi while smoking a cigar, so we took to referring to him as ‘S**t and Cigars’.”
We might have guessed that the Spice Girls were striking a blow against the patriarchy, even with their more nonsensical lyrics.
The Wannabe video – directed by Johan Camitz – was famously filmed in a single take, which meant that the pressure was on to get it right first time: as a result, the Spice Girls spent the entire night rehearsing as a steadycam followed them throughout the building.
Speaking about the experience at the time, Horner said: “The video I remember as being very chaotic and cold. It wasn't very controlled – we didn't want it to be.
“We wanted the camera to capture the madness of the Spice Girls.”
It certainly did that.
Images: Rex Features