8. "Santa Baby," Eartha KittRCA 475502 b/w "Under The Bridges Of Paris"
Highest chart position: #4 US (1953)
Recorded July 1953, New York, NY
Eartha Kitt was already a respected dancer, film star, and Broadway actress when RCA gave her a recording contract in 1953 -- but finding a song that would fit her incredibly sultry voice without getting banned from radio was a difficult task in those conservative times. The label solved the problem in two ways: "C'est Si Bon," a come-on which sported French lyrics that made it sound naughtier than it was, and "Santa Baby," a novelty song (co-written by Joan Javits, niece of US Senator Jacob) about a girl who's apparently been really good all year. Eartha's voice was almost uncomfortably erotic, but the words she wrapped it around proved cute enough to get past the censors. And while "C'est Si Bon" made her a recording star in the summer of 1953, "Santa Baby" ensured her iconic status forever.