As a young man John Lennon did not hold women in great regard. That is to say he adored, worshipped and feared them as distant goddesses who could harm, destroy or bestow great bounty on him at any moment.
To John The Younger women were not quite human, and many times in his early songs they appear as fuzzy caricatures that he is trying to control. He orders them about.
Is this a Beatles lyric or is it lifted from one of Kim Il Jong’s speeches to the terrified masses?
“When I tell you that I love you, You’re gonna say you love me too,
And when I ask you to be mine, You’re gonna say you love me too”.
You will do as you are told.
But times change.
The breathy husky spoken question of ‘Do you love me?’ kicks off a magical mystery tour of identity and desire that is the Samantha Fox/Ukulele version of the song. A perky bass figure kicks in behind a gleeful girly "sharing secrets after school" voice singing “I should have known better with a girl like you.”
If the harmonica driven original version recorded for the soundtrack of a Hard Days Night marks a point where the pop culture of the sixties starts to change ways that people think, rather than how music sounds, Sam Fox’s version takes us along some of the complex paths that love and sex have taken since then.
The cheerful ‘boys next door’ and ‘isn’t Paul the one you’d like to bring home to dear old mum’ construction of The Beatles Brand, and the simple joy of the original song, give little hint of how complex things would get to be. But this complexity is a mark of the seismic shifts the Beatles helped trigger.
In 1964 John was married to Cynthia Lennon (nee Powell), a classic girl next door. Had John’s life not taken such an unexpected turn it is not unimaginable that they would, in the summer of 2010, be sharing a retirement home in a picturesque part of Lancashire reminiscing about the good old days and laughing about John’s ridiculous old teddy boy haircut.
Cynthia’s place in John’s life was defined by the sexual politics of her time. She was skilled and educated at Liverpool College of Art in graphic design and calligraphy. Nowadays she could expect a career in one of the many forms of med
ia that feed from such skills but in the early part of the 1960’s marriage and motherhood was all that was expected of and by her.
The early part of their marriage was not publicly acknowledged due to the fact that it might upset the pubescent fans of The Beatles. She was an unperson surrounded by uproar that came in her husband’s wake.
She said that she loved him too.
Skip forward to 1984 and it is doubtful that you would have thought that Samantha Fox’s voice could talk about the complex dance that is man/woman relations in quite so many different ways.
She came to public view as a topless model in Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper, and something about her confident innocence and happy smile along with the fullness of her figure quickly propelled her image onto hundreds of boy’s bedroom garage and army barrack walls.
The sort of girl, similar in many ways to Cynthia, who lived in the terrace house next door. She and young John (maybe) used to walk to school together when they were kids, then perhaps to the corner shop where she got her first Saturday job. When he started messing round with the guitar she’d come and see him and his mates play during the intermission at the Gaumont cinema. But she is no longer a little girl and there’s a charge in their relationship. It’s dawning on John that he ‘should have realized a lot of things before’, so now he is going to ask Sam ‘to be mine’. So he writes a song for her.
Samantha Fox became short-hand for a ‘normal’, everyday, bouncy heterosexuality that fitted perfectly between the sheets of the Margaret Thatcher-loving Sun newspaper, with its conservative horror of difference, weirdness or anything out of the ordinary. For three years running she won the Page Three Girl Of The Year A
Given her embrace by the Murdoch press and all the pinup malarky it was easy to see her as a passive player in other peoples constructions, but she moved confidently from image to sound to record.
She scored a series of substantial hits. All were pin-up pop. She was a voice of temptation and titillation telling a seemingly simple story about women and male desire: which could be read (in an entry-level cultural studies sort of way) as constructions of her own objectification and alienation. This was not a revolutionary call to arms certainly, but it was an in your face declamation of her sexual power over her spotty yearning (male) audience.
ss="Apple-style-span" style="font-size:large;">She cut ribbons, opened shopping centers, appeared on TV, moved from two dimensions into three and established herself as a rounded personality and became the focus of the amnesiac undifferentiated public affection that permeates Media World UK.
It all became far more complex and intriguing when in 1999 it was announced that she was to be a judge at a lesbian beauty pageant. Sam Fox was coming out. Later she issued press statements and even participated in the TV show Celebrity Wife Swap with the charming and hilarious Myra Stratton, her manager and partner.
The cheeky lusty sighs punctuating this bubbling disco arrangement signal a sort of excitement, a surge, a triumph, an exhalation in recognition of the distance traveled by an army of Cynthias and Sams over the years. The song is transformed into a celebration of a desire that has found its true object.
And now ‘she knows better’, she really does. It’s a love that previously, on a profound level had ‘never realized what a kiss could be’ but which is now expressing its true essence in the singing of this song and reveling in the certainty that,
When I tell you that I love you
You’re gonna say you love me too.
and we do.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Music was Sam’s first love and secured her first record deal aged 15, however she was whisked into the glamorous modelling world and her music career was put on hold. During the four year tenure of her extremely
lucrative modelling contract, Samantha Fox became a household name in
the UK overnight and became the nation’s darling.
She gave up modelling aged 20 to concentrate on her music and released her first single in 1986, ‘Touch Me’ reached No 3 in the UK and No 4 in the USA. The single went on to amass a formidable array of Platinum, Gold and Silver awards and 24 discs honour these sales.
She has sold over 30 million records worldwide.
As someone with humanitarian interests she chose to visit and perform in many countries including Bosnia, Russia, the Ukraine and Siberia. In India Sam performed to 70,000 people three nights in a row, breaking the record previously held by Bruce Springsteen. It is her global approach that accounts for the international composition of Sam’s fan base.
Sam has also had parts in three films ‘It’s Been Real’ starring John Altman, The Match starring Piers Brosnan, Ian Holm (Alien), Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan), Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly), David Hayman and Ilar Blair and Bollywood classic ‘Rock Dancer’ written and directed by V Menon, starring Kamal Sadanah, Ronit Roy, Sharon Prabhakar, Javid Jafri, Anood Kumar and Johnny Lever. In recent years she has appeared in several TV shows including ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ with her partner Myra – swapping places with Freddie Starr and his wife Donna.
Her duet with Sabrina Salerno (a cover of ‘Call Me’) is getting a worldwide release and she has another movie role lined up in Brit Flick ‘The Beautiful Outsiders’ for which she is writing and performing the theme song.
More about Sam at: www.samfox.com