Gayla Peevey Jamie Horton
Gayla Rienette Peevey (birthed March 8, 1943) is a former singer and child star from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Her family membersrelocated to Ponca City, Oklahoma, in 1948. She is best known for her recording, under her maiden name Gayla Peevey, of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas“ (Columbia4-40106, 1953). Peevey recorded the novelty song when she was ten years old.
Publicity photo of Gayla Peevey in 1953
Gayla Rienette Peevey
March 8, 1943 ( age 76).
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Columbia, Joy Records (New York).
In 1960, under the name Jamie Horton, she had a minor hit with the song “Robot Man“, a Connie Francis cover.
Peevey graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Education degree. She, at some point, left teaching as well as owned her very own advertising| marketing firm for fifteen years. She is married to Cliff Henderson. They have a daughter, Sydney Forest, and also 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 $3,000 (equivalent to US$ 28,093 in 2018), and a baby hippopotamus called Matilda was purchased as well as offered to Peevey which she then donated to the zoo in 1951. The hippopotamus called Matilda spent 45 years in the Oklahoma City Zoo, and afterwards died 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.
Alternative-rock band Ween released a reworking of “Are My Ears On Straight“ entitled “I‘m Dancing in the Show Tonight“ on their 1997 album The Mollusk.
Along with being a singer, Henderson is also a songwriter, penning several of her Joy Records(New York) 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 as well as Dear Jane.
Singles (as Gayla Peevey) on Columbia Records
Year Title Label Single Matrix No.
1953 I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas/Are My Ears On Straight Columbia Records 40106CO49818/CO49819 RHCO10747/RHCO10748.
1953 Wish I Wuz A Whisker (On The Easter Bunny‘s Chin)/ Three Little Bunnies 40182.
1953 Kitty In The Basket (duet with Jimmy Boyd)/ I‘m So Glad (duet with Jimmy Boyd) 40218 RHCO10753/RHCO10754.
1953 Upsy Down Town/A Dog Named Joe 40264 CO49820/CO49821.
1954 Angel In The Christmas Play/Got A Cold In The Node For Christmas 40364RHCO33252/RHCO33253.
1954 Daddy‘s Report Card/The Night I Ran Away 40425RHCO10749/RHCO10750.
1955 77 Santas/Rubberlegs (The Knock-Kneed Monkey) 40602 RZSP33598/RZSP33599.
1957 I Want You To Be My Guy/Too Young To Have A Broken Heart 40932JZSP41539/JZSP41540.
1958 That‘s What I Learned In School/Do It Again 41027JZSP42215/JZSP42214.
Singles (as Jamie Horton) on Joy Records (New York)
Year Title Label Single Matrix No.
1959 My Little Marine/Missin‘ Joy Records (New York) 234K90W-8507/ K90W-8508.
1960 Where‘s My Love/Heartbreakin‘ Doll 237 KS-193/ KS-194.
1960 Just Say So/There Goes My Love 240 L90W-2188.
1960 Robot Man/We‘re Through— We‘re Finished 241 JR-7051/JR-7031.
1960 What Should A Teen Heart Do/Hands Off, He‘s Mine 245.
1961 When It Comes To Love/Yes, I‘ll Be Your Girl 252.
1961 Going, Going, Going Gone/They‘re Playing Our Song (contains elements of 16 Candles) 258 JR-7103/ JR-7101.
1961 Dear Jane/Only Forever 266 JR-7073/ JR-7122.
1962 Go Shout It From A Mountain/Oh Love (Stop Knockin‘ On My Door) 269.