Eartha Kitt – I Want To Be Evil [swedish tv version ’62]

• “I Want To Be Evil [swedish tv version ’62]” original broadcast footage. Thanks to mrfnk.

8.4 “Fantastic Crooner / Cabaret from the USA”

When the CIA keep a file on you it’s often the sign of a good egg and such is the case with Eartha Kitt, a celebrity who used her status to campaign for human-rights.

However, first impressions are crucial for the recording artist – as my non-relationship with Ms Kitt testifies. Ever since I first heard her in the 80s, I dismissed her as a bit of a comic figure – all draped furs, exaggerated purring accent and exceedingly lame HiNRG records.

Now, here I am some 30+ years later, stumbling into her early-days material – oh, how the change of environment makes a difference.

In her original incarnation as a swingin’, sassy diva, she’s a revelation – that voice and her winning character makes for a dynamic combination. Who could fail to be charmed by “I Want To Be Evil”?

The version as featured (close to, but not quite the same as her 1953 original) was aired in 1962 on SVT (the Swedish equivalent of the BBC) on Kaskad, their flagship variety show. You can hear what sounds like crackly vinyl at the beginning which suggests the possibility that there was an actual pressing. Perhaps it was a pre-recorded acetate especially for the show? In any case, it seems it cannot be purchased these days for love nor money, so if you want it as you hear it you’ll need to “tape it” from YouTube. If you feel the need to appease your EVIL conscience, you can purchase the original which was first issued as a 45 – “I Want To Be Evil” b/w “Annie Doesn’t Live Here Any More” (RCA Victor 47-5442) in September 1953. I now have both ; – )

Today’s post is very much a note to self: try to find some time to check out some early Eartha…

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