March 8, 1943 |
Ponca City, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Labels||Columbia, Joy Records|
Gayla Peevey Henderson (born March 8, 1943) is a former singer and child star from Ponca City, Oklahoma. She is best known for her recording, under her maiden name Gayla Peevey, of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" (Columbia 4-40106, 1953). Peevey recorded the novelty song when she was 10 years old.
In 1959, she had a minor hit with the song "Robot Man", recorded under the name Jamie Horton. The song was covered by Connie Francis.
Peevey graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Education degree. She eventually left teaching and owned her own advertising firm for 15 years. She is married to Cliff Henderson. They have a daughter, Sydney Forest, and three grandchildren.
Gayla Peevey in popular culture
The Oklahoma City Zoo capitalized upon the popularity of "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas" with a fundraising campaign to "buy a hippo for Gayla". The fund raised $3,000 (equivalent to $27,552.12 present day), and a baby hippopotamus named Matilda was purchased and given to Peevey which she then donated to the zoo. The hippopotamus named Matilda spent 45 years in the Oklahoma City Zoo, and then passed away at age 47 from a heart attack in 1998 while being transferred to the Walt Disney World's Disney's Animal Kingdom, in Orlando, Florida. 
All on Columbia records.
- "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" (John Rox) — With the Norman Leyden orchestra
- "Are My Ears on Straight" (John Rox) (B-side) - with the Norman Leyden orchestra
- "Three Little Bunnies" (Al Hoffman / Dick Manning) — with Paul Weston and his Orchestra (Columbia) (1953)
- "I Wish I Wuz A Whisker (On The Easter Bunny’s Chin)" (B-side)
- "Upsy Down Town" (1954)
- "A Dog Named Joe" (B-side)
- "I'm So Glad (I'm a Little Boy and You're a Little Girl)" — Duet with Jimmy Boyd (B-side)
- "Angel in the Christmas Play" (Bob Merrill)(1954)
- "Got a Cold in the Node For Christmas" (Bob Merrill) (B-side)
- "Daddy's Report Card" (1955)
- "The Night I Ran Away" (B-side)
- "77 Santas" (AKA "Seventy Seven Santas") (1955)
- "Rubber Legs (The Knock-Kneed Monkey)" — with Paul Weston (B-side)
- "Too Young to Have a Broken Heart" (1957)
- "I Want You to Be My Guy" (B-side)
- "That's What I Learned in School" (1957)
- "Do it Again" (B-side)
Singles recorded as Jamie Horton
All released on the Joy Records label.
- "My Little Marine" (J. Horton/E. Warren) (Joy 234, 1959)
- "Missin'" (B-side)
- "Where's My Love?" (Joy 237, 1960)
- "Heartbreakin' Doll" (B-side)
- "Just So So" (Joy 240, 1960)
- "There Goes My Love" (B-side)
- "Robot Man" (Sylvia Dee/George Goehring) (Joy 241, 1960)
- "We're Through - We're Finished" (B-side) (J. Horton)
- "What Should a Teen Heart Do" (Joy 245, 1960)
- "Hands Off, He's Mine" (B-side)
- "When It Comes to Love" (J. Horton) - Arranged by H. B. Barnum (Joy 252, 1961)
- "Yes, I'll Be Your Girl" (J. Horton) - Arranged by H. B. Barnum (B-side)
- "Going, Going, Going Gone" (Rose Marie McCoy) - Arranged and conducted by Mort Garson (Joy 258, 1961)
- "They're Playing Our Song" (contains elements of "16 Candles") (Ross/Luther Dixon/Allyson Khent) - Arranged and conducted by Mort Garson (B-side)
- "Dear Jane" (Joy 266, 1962)
- "Only Forever" (B-side)
- "Go Shout It From a Mountain" (S. Turner/Jack Nitzsche) - Arranged and conducted by Jack Nitzsche (Joy 269, 1962)
- "Oh Love (Stop Knockin' On My Door)" (B-side)
- "Biography of Gayla Peevey," Internet Movie Database (accessed May 11, 2010).
- Novelty Nook, Fifties and Sixties, Mistletunes.com (accessed May 11, 2010).
- News OK:" City Zoo Hippo Dies En Route to Florida Park"