Song:I Want A Hippoptamus For Christmas
Album:Dr. Demento Presents The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD Of All Time
Gayla Peevey was ten years old when she hit the pop charts with the novelty song I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas. Obviously I'm not crazy about child pop singers but I always find it interesting about how unlikely songs become hits. Gayla attempted to continue in music as a teen but was unsuccessful. She was born Mar. 8, 1943 in Oklahoma City. Her family moved to Ponca City when she was five. Gayla sang in church and in school and she appeared on an Oklahoma City TV station. Her family moved to Los Angeles in 1953. Gayla was a regular on the Hoagy Carmichael hosted TV show Saturday Night Review. This led to a contract with Columbia Records. I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas was Gayla's first single and became a big hit helped by Gayla's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The song was written and arranged by John Rox who also wrote the 1949 Buddy Clark hit It's A Big, Wide, Wonderful World. Rox also wrote songs for Pearl Bailey, Eartha Kitt, Perry Como and Dean Martin. Rox died in 1957. The orchestra was conducted by former Glenn Miller arranger Norman Leyden. I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas is a favourite of legendary DJ Barry Hansen AKA Dr. Demento. And you can get the song on one of his CDs. Gayla recorded several singles over the next few years. But none of them charted. So her parents removed her from the music business and the family moved to San Diego in 1957. She returned in 1959 as Jamie Horton and had a minor hit with Robot Man. Despite working with arrangers like H.B. Barnum, Mort Garson and Jack Nitzsche, she was unsuccessful and quit the music business for good in 1964. Gayla Peevey ran her own ad agency and has been involved in her church in Los Angeles for years. I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas got a big boost when Gretchen Wilson's cover hit the country chart in 2009. Here's Gayla Peevey performing I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas on The Ed Sullivan Show 1953.