THE SATURDAY MORNING SONG CHRONICLES - PAGE 17
-- Paul B Allen III: August 31, 2019
IMDb (International Movie Database) has what they call a “mini-bio” on Eartha Kitt that is informative and succinct. It says of her:
“An out-of-wedlock child, Eartha Kitt was born in the cotton fields of South Carolina. Kitt's mother was a sharecropper of African-American and Cherokee Native American descent. Her father's identity is unknown.
Given away by her mother, she arrived in Harlem at age nine. At 15, she quit high school to work in a Brooklyn factory. As a teenager, Kitt lived in friends' homes and in the subways. However, by the 1950s, she had sung and danced her way out of poverty and into the spotlight: performing with the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe on a European tour, soloing at a Paris nightclub and becoming the toast of the Continent.
Orson Welles called her "the most exciting girl in the world".
She also spoke out on hard issues.
She took over the role of Catwoman for the third and final season of the television series Batman (1966), replacing Julie Newmar. Eartha Kitt died of colon cancer in her home in Weston, Connecticut, on Christmas Day 2008.”
That says a lot about this truly remarkable woman, but there is a lot that it does not say.
That her father was white, and that she was more than likely the product of a rape.
That her mother gave her away because her new husband, now step-father to Eartha, didn’t want a child of mixed race in his home. (Translation: Eartha received prejudiced treatment from black people)
That the relative who took her in when her mother gave her away may have been Eartha's actual birth-mother who had given her away first because she was ashamed.
That she spent her entire adult life trying to learn the identity of her white father and was frustrated at every turn by racism which blocked her from finding out. (Translation: Eartha received prejudiced treatment from white people).
That once she got to her new home at age nine, she was abused.
But that she also learned to speak Dutch, French, and German.
That she was one of the most versatile entertainers of all time as she was a successful singer, actress, dancer, comedian, activist, author, and songwriter.
That she took her young daughter with her on the road (and pretty much every other place that she went).
That there was something “quirky” about her voice that mesmerized people and made them want to listen to her.
And that there is so much more about her that it would take an entire book to record it all. Maybe two.
If you’d like to read more about this truly fascinating woman you will find links to some excellent articles about her at the end of this story.
But this is The Saturday Morning Song Chronicles, and here is what I really want to share with you this morning.
Eartha Kitt sang two songs that I personally believe are absolute miracles of lyric writing.
Those of you who know me know that writing lyrics is my “claim to fame” in the music industry. Yes, some know me only as a pretty good singer, still, in all honesty, I believe that I write lyrics much better than I sing songs. But when I heard these two songs by Eartha Kitt, they seriously made me feel the need to reconsider my occupation.
These lyrics are witty, funny, intricate, evocative, loaded with innuendo and double entendre, and are executed perfectly with the unique, sensual, mesmerizing voice and delivery of Eartha Kitt.
Enjoy “Santa Baby” (she was the first to ever sing the song, back in 1953) and “I Want to be Evil.” I am presenting the videos of her performing these songs so that you can hear the brilliantly clever lyrics as you watch and marvel at her intense delivery of “I Want to be Evil” (which I found to be a little frightening, even though it is a funny song), and her sensual, suggestive, and coy delivery of “Santa Baby.”
If you think these lyrics are as funny and outstanding as I do, please leave me a message on FB and let me know how these songs and their performances affected you.
There is yet another video presented that features one of Eartha's biggest hits. I think it is one of the most sensual sounding in pop music history. "C'est Si Bon," showcases how fluently she spoke French and how she could have taken out a trademark based solely on her delivery of this song.
All three videos are historic gems.
To you ladies who are my family and friends and fans who I love and care about so much, please read about Eartha. Her journey was mind-blowing, and I guarantee that after you read about her in the articles listed below, you will be inspired and feel even more empowered as you travel your own journey.
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