Gayla Peevey

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Gayla Peevey
Born (1943-03-08) March 8, 1943 (age 71)
Ponca City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Occupations Singer
Instruments Vocals
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.[1] She eventually left teaching and owned her own advertising firm for 15 years.[1] She is married to Cliff Henderson. They have a daughter, Sydney Forest, and three grandchildren.

In popular culture[edit]

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.[2] 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. [3]

Song/Singles list[edit]

All on Columbia records.

"Are My Ears on Straight" (John Rox) (B-side) - with the Norman Leyden orchestra
"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)
"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[edit]

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)
"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)


External links[edit]