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Gayla Peevey
Born (1943-03-08) March 8, 1943 (age 72)
Ponca City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Labels Columbia, Joy Records (New York)

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 3 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 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.[3]

In addition to being a talented singer, Henderson is also an accomplished 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 and Dear Jane.

Singles (as Gayla Peevey) on Columbia Records[edit]

Year Side Title Label Single Catalogue No.
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
1955 A 77 Santas 40602 RZSP33598
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 (New York)[edit]

Year Side Title Label Single Catalogue No.
1959 A My Little Marine Joy Records (New York) 234 K90W-8507
B Missin' K90W-8508
1960 A Where's My Love 237 KS-194
B Heartbreakin' Doll KS-193
1960 A Just Say So 240 L90W-2188
B There Goes My Love
1960 A Robot Man 241 JR-7051
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
1961 A Dear Jane 266 JR-7073
B Only Forever JR-7122
1962 A Go Shout It From A Mountain 269
B Oh Love (Stop Knockin' On My Door)


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gayla_Peevey — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

62 news items

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 14:36:53 -0800

Officials at the Oklahoma City Zoo hosted Gayla Peevey Henderson for a singalong with zoo visitors Sunday afternoon. Visitors came from throughout the state, and one family came from Kansas, zoo spokeswoman Tara Henson said. After the first rendition, ...

Enid News & Eagle

Enid News & Eagle
Sun, 21 Dec 2014 06:02:37 -0800

OKLAHOMA CITY — Most children ask for a puppy for Christmas, but Gayla Peevey wanted something larger — a certain temperamental beast that lives in Africa's Nile River and wouldn't even fit in her garage. While most children would consider asking ...
Cinema Blend
Sun, 23 Dec 2007 00:00:01 -0800

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... Gayla Peevey's “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” Ten year-old Gayla Peevey's 1953 recording of “I want A Hippopotamus for Christmas” is arguably the most annoying tune that inevitably ...

Al Jazeera America

Al Jazeera America
Fri, 28 Nov 2014 02:04:36 -0800

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Gayla Peevey. A cloying offering from 1953 that overstays its welcome, later covered by The Three Stooges as well as The Captain and Tennille. “I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas” does have a decent bridge and ...

The Seattle Times

The Seattle Times
Sun, 07 Dec 2014 19:56:15 -0800

1 choice a tie between 'Stop the Cavalry,' by the Cory Band, and 'I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,' by Gayla Peevey. “They have sold out every year for the past two decades. Around a week before Christmas, at least 25 calls come in daily from ...


Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:10:12 -0800

Oddly enough, the 1953 novelty song from child actress Gayla Peevey perfectly sums up the made-for-television offering, which debuts Saturday night on Lifetime. Like the kitschy tune was some six decades ago, Grumpy Cat aka Tardar Sauce is a fluky and ...

Headlines & Global News

Headlines & Global News
Mon, 22 Dec 2014 13:09:03 -0800

Every year they seem to start earlier...love them or hate them, they're invading your ear holes right after (and now even sometimes before) Thanksgiving. Walk into any retail store, they are there. Turn on your car radio, BOOM, there again. Of course ...

Asbury Park Press

Asbury Park Press
Thu, 11 Dec 2014 21:05:53 -0800

Rimes, 32, shouldn't be incredulous when noting how few people have ever heard the quirky 1953 track cut by the then 10-year old Gayla Peevey. “I guess it's an unusual song but I had to record it for my EP,” Rimes said. “I did my job.” “One Christmas: ...

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