Everything you need to know about the Spice Girls as pop legends announce Sunderland tour date

They first hit the charts almost 25 years ago, but the Spice Girls are still the first act that comes to mind when you think "girl power".

Baby, Ginger, Posh, Scary and Sporty took the world by storm in 1996, as debut single Wannabe hit number one in 37 counties.

What followed was a whirlwind of record sales, a hit cult film and a wardrobe of iconic looks that are still instantly recognisable today (don't mind me, I'm just searching for my Union Jack dress).

Read more: Spice Girls announce Stadium of Light gig as part of major comeback tour

Now, 10 years since they last went out on the road, the Spice Girls have announced a mega comeback tour, minus Posh Spice Victoria Beckham - including a date at the Stadium of Light on June 6.

It's set to be absolutely poptastic, with glittering costumes, a spectacular stage show and (most importantly) wall-to-wall hits.

Did you somehow miss the pop phenomenon that was Emma Bunton, Geri Horner, Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown and Melanie Chisholm the first time around?

Here's what you need to know.

*How did they break onto the scene?

The girls formed in 1994 before taking the charts by storm in 1996 with their debut single and album, Spice. It sold 31 million copies worldwide, and became the best-selling album by a female group in history.

The girls are going on tour without Victoria Beckham. Picture: PA.

The girls are going on tour without Victoria Beckham. Picture: PA.

Single Wannabe was the band's first step down the path of female empowerment, addressing the importance of friendship over everything and their still-relevant slogan of "friendship never ends". The iconic video was famously shot in one take, following the girls as they wreaked havoc in a London hotel.

Read more: Spice Girls in Sunderland - how to get tickets for the tour

The video reached the top of the viewers' chart within two hours of going on air.

Spice, meanwhile, still holds the title of best-selling girl group album in history. It has a lead of eight million over second-place CrazySexyCool by TLC. Spiceworld, the group's second album, is in third place with 20 million sales.

Spice Girls in 1997 at Cannes Film Festival. Picture: PA.

Spice Girls in 1997 at Cannes Film Festival. Picture: PA.

*What are their most popular songs?

Wannabe (obviously) is one of their most recognisable hits - but there'll definitely be a few more you know from nights out, family parties or wedding discos.

Or if you (like me) were of a certain age when the Spice Girls made it big, you'll find the lyrics are still etched into your memory.

Looking to make a greatest hits playlist before the gig arrives? Definitely look up 2 Become 1 (the group's first of three Christmas No.1s), Spice Up Your Life, Stop and (my personal favourite from the post-Geri days) Holler.

*Who left the band when? And what happened next?

Well, this is where it gets a bit complicated. Ginger Spice Geri Horner announced she was leaving the band in mid-1998, leaving the Spice Girls to continue as a four-piece, which they did for two more years.

Spice is the best-selling album by a female group in history. Picture: PA.

Spice is the best-selling album by a female group in history. Picture: PA.

Third album Forever was released in November 2000, but it was beaten to the UK's No. 1 spot by Westlife's Coast to Coast, and paled into insignificance compared to the first two. At the end of that year, the girls announced an "indefinite hiatus" to concentrate on their solo work and other projects.

All five women released their own music, both on their own and with collaborators.

Mel B, Mel C, Emma Bunton and Geri all had their turn at No.1. Victoria Beckham's highest-charting single, This Groove/Let Your Head Go, reached No. 3.

In 2007, the group confirmed they were reuniting, and set off on a worldwide tour attended by millions. They also took part in that year's BBC Children in Need programme, and picked up an array of awards.

In 2012, they performed at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. They have not yet returned to the stage together.

*How come they're still such a big deal?

The Spice Girls paved the way for today's female artists and girl groups - there was nothing quite like them before, and no one has been quite able to emulate their success since.

The early pioneers of girl power and female friendship conjure up fond memories of earlier years for many - and who doesn't love a bit of nostalgia?

5ive, S Club 7 and Steps are just some of the pop groups to take on successful reunion tours or performances on recent years.

But there's no doubt that this will be one of the biggest reunion tours we're ever seen.

Now, let's get that date in the diary.