Born in 1966, in England; daughter of Pat Fox (a music manager and former construction worker). Addresses: Record company --c/o Jive/RCA, 1348 Lexington Ave., New York, N.Y. 10128.
British pop singer Samantha Fox always dreamed of being a singer. She told Teen magazine, "I was one of those kids, singing into a hairbrush in front of my mirror, with a blowdryer for a wind machine." Years later, without the aid of hairbrush and blowdryer, she has raised eyebrows and pulses with her first three major-label recordings: Touch Me (1986), Samantha Fox (1987), and I Wanna Have Some Fun (1988). Appearing on the jacket covers posed in sexy outfits and singing behind danceable, synthesized disco tracks, Fox has become a popular success. Her first album went gold, its single "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" selling more than four million copies around the world. Her second album yielded the top-ten hit "Naughty Girls" while her third album produced the number one "I Wanna Have Some Fun." But amid all her commercial popularity, revealing outfits, and come-hither looks, Fox has failed to impress the critics, who remain staunchly united in their disapproval.
Fox was first exposed to the public as a "Page Three Girl" for England's most popular tabloid, the Sun. In 1983, at the age of sixteen, she joined a bevy of beauties who would greet Britons every morning on the third page with a warm smile and a bare chest. Fox explained to Creem 's Iman Lababedi that "the Page Three Girl is the working class girl next door with a nice smile and a nice pair of boobs." Paul Mathur, in the English publication Melody Maker, was more descriptive in his interpretation of the affair: "She ripped off her cozzie, unleashed her double-D's and became just like your average girl next door...." In the process, Fox became the Sun 's most popular pinup and unleashed a career earning four thousand dollars for each personal appearance. She also became popular enough to take part in celebrity/rock charities. Along with fellow Page Three Girls she helped raise one hundred thousand dollars under the title Bare-Aid to assist African Relief activist Bob Geldof's efforts.
In 1986, however, Fox decided to pursue her ambition of becoming a singer. But popular success is often not a barometer of critical approval, and Fox's debut album, Touch Me, did little to dispel this notion. "The only thing to note about this record is that in 'Suzie Don't Leave Me with Your Boyfriend,' it contains a title about as lyrically graceful as a Czechoslovakian telephone book," Mathur scoffed. With lyrics such as "I was beggin' for you to treat my body like you wanted to/ ooh, ooh," People 's Ralph Novak claimed that "all anybody could tell is that she sounds better than Howard Cosell."
Fox's follow-up album continued in the same musical vein and brought the same critical derision. Colin Irwin of Melody Maker called Samantha Fox "a small step for man, a huge step for lip gloss." Attempting to upgrade her material with a song titled "If Music Be the Food of Love" (from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night ) and a cover of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," Fox still failed to convince the critics. Novak stated that her version of the Stones' classic "shows an ability to make a sow's ear out of a silk purse," while Alanna Nash, writing for Stereo Review, labeled Fox "really less a singer than a sex fantasy." The fantasy was maintained on her next album, I Wanna Have Some Fun. With such titles as "Your House or My House," "Next to Me," and "Hot for You," Fox continued to explore the topics of love and lust. In reviewing this release, Nash described it as "airhead pop" and confessed a desire to simply "get back to an analysis of those jacket pictures."
Fox's concert appearances have done little to change the prevailing critical perception. A reviewer for Variety, in a play on one of her hit song's lyrics, stated that "naughty girls may need love, but in the video age they apparently don't need much talent if they happen to be beautiful," adding that Fox "was neither naughty nor terribly lovable during an amateurish hourlong set."
Fox, however, is undaunted by such criticisms. Quoted in the Detroit Free Press, she maintained, "I'm not U2....I don't want to be taken seriously." While the battle between popular adoration and critical disdain wages on, perhaps the final word comes from Lababedi: "If the American teenage male can't get it up over Ms. Fox, there's something drastically wrong with the American teenage male. It's as simple as that."
by Rob Nagel
Samantha Fox's Career
Modeled under contract to Sun , 1983-87; Pop singer, 1986--.
- Selective Works
- Touch Me Jive/RCA, 1986.
- Samantha Fox Jive/RCA, 1987.
- I Wanna Have Some Fun Jive/RCA, 1989.
- Creem, May 1987.
- Detroit Free Press, August 11, 1989.
- Melody Maker, June 21, 1986; July 19, 1986; July 18, 1987.
- People, November 3, 1986; January 12, 1987; October 19, 1987; December 19, 1988.
- Stereo Review, February 1988.
- Teen, June 1989.
- Variety, June 7, 1989.