British singer Samantha Jones went from girl group member to solo singer in 1964. She never scored a hit in the UK but had some success in the rest of Europe, and issued a number of records in Italian.
She was born Jean Owen in Liverpool, north west England, on 17 November 1943.
After taking part in a singing contest in 1961, she was offered a job with the Ivor Kirchen Band. However, she also applied for a part in girl group The Vernons Girls.
The group enjoyed a couple of top 40 hits, You know what I mean, in May 1962, and Funny all over, in January 1963. They toured with the Beatles and released a single We love you Beatles, in early 1964. For the follow up, Only you can do it, Samantha was put on lead vocals.
When Cilla Black turned down a duet with Long John Baldry on a Beatles-themed TV special, Samantha was asked to step into her place. Her performance encouraged Blackwell to seek out a solo career for the petite singer.
After signing with US label United Artists, she was given the stage name Samantha Jones.
Her debut British release was 1964’s It’s all because of you. She recorded a version in Italian, which was released through United Artists’ arm in Italy. In translation, the song became Una goccia d’amore, and was backed by Un uomo forte non s’arrende, a version of I woke up crying.
In Britain, she’d been scheduled to release As long as you’re happy, until Sandie Shaw pipped her to the post. Instead, she released the song in Italian, as Io non lo dico mai, backed by Un amore così, a version of her Just call and I’ll be there, in 1965.
She made several visits to Italy to promote her records and appeared at the Venice Song Festival. In 1967 she released the exuberant Surrounded by a ray of sunshine in Italy and a version of Francis Lai’s Vivre for vivre, Live for life.
In 1970 she also issued a duet with Kris Ife, Feelin’ better, under the name Krimson Kake.
She released one further Italian song, in 1970, Perchè adesso ti amo, a version of Best of both worlds, a song she’d released in English and which Scottish singer Lulu had also recorded.
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