This post was all conveniently timed and planned to tie-in with the reissue of Sam Fox’s first four albums this week, but as luck would have it the release has been postponed for a few weeks due to “manufacturing delays”. Hmph. Regardless, it’s about time the Fantastic Ms Fox was given the recognition she deserves for a peerless pop career.
Firstly what’s unique about her is that unlike many starlets who end up doing softcore nudity once their hits have dried up, it’s how Sam kicked off her music career. By the time she was only 20 she had already formally “retired” as a Page 3 girl with £200,000 insured breasts, although she would make occasional forays back to keep her pervier fans happy. Katie Price would kill for her easy transition from dirty old man’s pleasure to national pop treasure.
While her first single ‘Touch Me’ remains her most well-known hit in the UK (out of three domestic top 10’s), it’s hard to believe that this is a woman who has managed to sell 30 million records. How? Through consistent moderate hits across Europe and the US throughout the late Eighties and early Nineties. What she lacked in smash No.1’s, Sam made up for in decent chart placings, such as ‘Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)’ which despite being the fifth single for her self titled second album temporarily brought her profile back in the UK. The different tastes between her European audiences who fell over each other for her Stock Aitken and Waterman collaborations and US fans whom she worked with hip hop producers Full Force for can also be attributed to her lack of global dominance – she had a foothold on either side of the Atlantic, but not firmly.
The Nineties, after her fourth album Just One Night failed to resurrect things, were a bit of a wilderness for Foxy. In 1995 she unsuccessfully attempted to represent the UK in Eurovision with a nice enough song called ‘Go For the Heart’ which might’ve fared quite well had it been selected. In 1998 she released her masterpiece, 21st Century Fox on the wave of some new interest which might have had something to do with this the year before:
A big fat Nineties dance hit was just what the Doctor had ordered and should’ve been enough to put 21st Century Fox on every kid’s Christmas wishlist along with the Spice Girls dolls. Unfortunately as she was by this stage with a miniscule US-based hip hop label, distributing costs meant that the album had to be stagger-released, killing off any momentum. At least ‘Let Me Be Free’ was a club hit of sorts across Europe, just like the old days.
Angel with an Attitude, her most recent album in 2005 suffered from more business woe with the label going bankrupt and Sam having to go independent and release it herself. It’s a solid effort, sounding much less cheap than it actually was with lyrics referencing personal experiences such as suing her Father for embezzling £1 million from her, giving us a rare glimpse behind the woman with the big knockers. These days Samantha seems to be spending her days very slowly writing her autobiography and appearing on intermittent reality shows with her girlfriend while a new album is apparently in the pipeline for release this year. Her involvement with the reissuing of her first four albums also shows that she never saw music as just a passport to fame – she also wrote ‘Dreams’ for All Saints who rudely demanded she change her name to “Karen Wilkin” on the credits. With random singles such as ‘The Secret’ last year or the amazing ‘Midnight Lover’ (see below) appearing on UK iTunes without any announcement, you can never be certain when The Fox will emerge from her den. Probably your best bet is to follow her on Twitter and tolerate her enthusiastic commitment to animal rights. When the four reissues are eventually released I’m going to be getting my hands on I’m Wanna Have Some Fun as it contains a brilliant SAW cover of Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Wanna Be With You’ for starters. Forget about Kylie’s K25 celebrations, 2012 is officially the year of S26.