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.
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.
In addition to being a talented singer, Henderson is also an accomplished songwriter, penning several of her Joy Records singles, including My Little Marine, Just Say So, We're Through - We're Finished, When It Comes To Love, Yes, I'll Be Your Girl, and Dear Jane.
Singles (as Gayla Peevey) on Columbia Records
|1953||A||I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas||Columbia Records||40106||CO49818|
|B||Are My Ears On Straight||CO49819|
|1953||A||I Wish I Wuz A Whisker (On The Easter Bunny's Chin)||40182||RHCO10747|
|B||Three Little Bunnies||RHCO10748|
|1953||A||Kitty In The Basket (duet with Jimmy Boyd)||40218||RHCO10753|
|B||I'm So Glad (duet with Jimmy Boyd)||RHCO10754|
|1953||A||Upsy Down Town||40264||CO49820|
|B||A Dog Named Joe||CO49821|
|1954||A||Angel In The Christmas Play||40364||RHCO33252|
|B||Got A Cold In The Node For Christmas||RHCO33253|
|1954||A||Daddy's Report Card||40425||RHCO10749|
|B||The Night I Ran Away||RHCO10750|
|B||Rubberlegs (The Knock-Kneed Monkey)||RZSP33599|
|1957||A||I Want You To Be My Guy||40932||JZSP41539|
|B||Too Young To Have A Broken Heart||JZSP41540|
|1958||A||That's What I Learned In School||41027||JZSP42215|
|B||Do It Again||JZSP42214|
Singles (as Jamie Horton) on Joy Records
|1959||A||My Little Marine||Joy Records||234||K90W-8507|
|1960||A||Where's My Love||237||KS-194|
|1960||A||Just Say So||240||L90W-2188|
|B||There Goes My Love|
|B||We're Through - We're Finished||JR-7031|
|1960||A||What Should A Teen Heart Do||245|
|B||Hands Off, He's Mine|
|1961||A||When It Comes To Love||252|
|B||Yes, I'll Be Your Girl|
|1961||A||Going, Going, Going Gone||258||JR-7103|
|B||They're Playing Our Song (contains elements of 16 Candles)||JR-7101|
|1962||A||Go Shout It From A Mountain||269|
|B||Oh Love (Stop Knockin' On My Door)|
- "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"