Record of the Day: Eartha Kitt – That Bad Eartha (1956)

Eartha Kitt, actor, singer, chanteuse, sex symbol, would be turning 91 today, were she still with us, which makes right now the perfect time for celebrating her life by putting on her 1956 RCA Victor release, That Bad Eartha. Or any Eartha record, really, but if you’re looking for classic, sultry Eartha, this record is a perfect place to start.

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Eartha Kitt was a phenomenal singer and actress. She enchanted wherever she went, and her voice, all these years later, is still as captivating as ever, as her whispers, purrs and coos come gliding out of the speakers, tickling your ears and boring their way deep into your core.

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Personality-wise, Eartha was also a force to be reckoned with. Linguistically gifted, she recorded songs in eleven languages. While at the White House on a visit, she spoke out about the unfairness of the Vietnam War, causing First Lady Ladybird Johnson to break into tears and nearly ending Eartha’s career. Full of profundities, Eartha wrote three autobiographies and was the subject of one documentary.

Despite being born into terrible circumstances, like so many African-American women in the southern U.S., Eartha aimed high and lived an impressive life. Her career is as legendary as her activism, and she deserves a prominent place in American musical history and in any record collection.

Happy birthday, Eartha.

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Dacia lives in Austin, Texas, where she writes, drinks & listens to records.

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