Gayla Peevey

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Gayla Peevey
Born(1943-03-08) March 8, 1943 (age 71)
Ponca City, Oklahoma, U.S.
LabelsColumbia, Joy Records
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Gayla Peevey
Born(1943-03-08) March 8, 1943 (age 71)
Ponca City, Oklahoma, U.S.
LabelsColumbia, 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 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 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]

YearSideTitleLabelSingleCatalogue No.
1953AI Want a Hippopotamus for ChristmasColumbia Records40106CO49818
BAre My Ears On StraightCO49819
1953AI Wish I Wuz A Whisker (On The Easter Bunny's Chin)40182RHCO10747
BThree Little BunniesRHCO10748
1953AKitty In The Basket (duet with Jimmy Boyd)40218RHCO10753
BI'm So Glad (duet with Jimmy Boyd)RHCO10754
1953AUpsy Down Town40264CO49820
BA Dog Named JoeCO49821
1954AAngel In The Christmas Play40364RHCO33252
BGot A Cold In The Node For ChristmasRHCO33253
1954ADaddy's Report Card40425RHCO10749
BThe Night I Ran AwayRHCO10750
1955A77 Santas40602RZSP33598
BRubberlegs (The Knock-Kneed Monkey)RZSP33599
1957AI Want You To Be My Guy40932JZSP41539
BToo Young To Have A Broken HeartJZSP41540
1958AThat's What I Learned In School41027JZSP42215
BDo It AgainJZSP42214

Singles (as Jamie Horton) on Joy Records[edit]

YearSideTitleLabelSingleCatalogue No.
1959AMy Little MarineJoy Records234K90W-8507
1960AWhere's My Love237KS-194
BHeartbreakin' DollKS-193
1960AJust Say So240L90W-2188
BThere Goes My Love
1960ARobot Man241JR-7051
BWe're Through - We're FinishedJR-7031
1960AWhat Should A Teen Heart Do245
BHands Off, He's Mine
1961AWhen It Comes To Love252
BYes, I'll Be Your Girl
1961AGoing, Going, Going Gone258JR-7103
BThey're Playing Our Song (contains elements of 16 Candles)JR-7101
1961ADear Jane266JR-7073
BOnly ForeverJR-7122
1962AGo Shout It From A Mountain269
BOh Love (Stop Knockin' On My Door)


External links[edit]