"Lady Samantha" is a song by Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin. It was released on January 17, 1969, six months before his first album, Empty Sky came out. It appeared on its 1995 reissue as a bonus track.
Recorded in December 1968 along with its b-side, "All Across the Havens," it was performed on several radio broadcasts (including John's first BBC radio airing) in 1969, but forgotten afterward. John has apparently never played it in concert.
John's first single, "I've Been Loving You," did not fare well on the British charts. This song went the same way. It was as mentioned praised by critics, and yielded what producer Gus Dudgeon, who became a fan of the song upon hearing it on the radio, later called "a turntable hit." The song garnered a fair amount of airplay, but sold few copies and failed to chart. It was John's final single on the Philips label. This was also John's first American single, released on the DJM label in the United States, but it failed to chart there as well. It was re-released a year later, this time on the Congress label, but again failed to chart. Its b-side was his third British single, "It's Me That You Need."
"Lady Samantha" also surfaced in other reissue configurations, including as a double b-side (with "It's Me That You Need") to a DJM single issue of "Rocket Man" in 1972, and again as part of a DJM album compilation titled "Lady Samantha," released in the US in 1980 and earlier in the UK in 1974 in cassette/8 track tape-only format with different cover art. This collection featured rarities and B-sides from the earliest days of John's career. It later also appeared on the MCA Records "To Be Continued ..." 4-CD boxed set, and on Mercury's 2-CD "Rare Masters" set in the early 1990s, prior to its inclusion as a bonus track on the CD reissue of "Empty Sky" in 1995.
Bernie Taupin remembers in "His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John" by Elizabeth Rosenthal that the song was the first to represent the songwriting team's new direction, courtesy of advice from producer Steve Brown, who suggested the two should write what they like and please themselves, not the marketplace.
American rock group Three Dog Night covered it in 1969 as well. It appeared as the second track on their second album, "Suitable for Framing," and was also included on the band's retrospective compilation, "Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story."
New Zealand singer Shane Hales, known professionally as Shane, covered the song. As a single, it made the charts of that country at number 3. As well as the Three Dog Night version and the original version, it was released in 1969.