Earth Kitt was born in 1927 in South Carolina to a mother of black and Cherokee background and never knew her father.
Known today as Catwoman and Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove, Earth got her start on Broadway in 1945 and her first dedicated album was RCA Victor Presents Earth Kitt in 1953. Released just after her excellent Santa Baby, the album’s opening track was I Want To Be Evil. The song was written by Lester Judson and Raymond Taylor, two artists of which there is almost no easy information to be had online.
I’ve posed for pictures with Iv’ry Soap,
I’ve petted stray dogs, and shied clear of dope,
My smile is brilliant, my glance is tender,
But I’m noted most for my unspoiled gender.
The song lists things that are “evil” — cheating at games, lying, drinking alcohol — but the vocal approach suggests a young lady who daydreams about being cruel the same way she dreams of a knight in shining armor. Sandra Dee went over the edge in leather, but Eartha’s approach doesn’t sound like the kind of lady who would turn from her delicate nature. After all, she doesn’t know that cruelty goes far beyond gambling and shooting pool.
This version was filmed for the 1962 Swedish variety show Kaskad which later won a Rose d’Or Award.