Happy Birthday Little Eva (June 29, 1943 – April 10, 2003),

 

 

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Little Eva is an American R&B singer.
Born in Belhaven, North Carolina, she moved to the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, New York at a young age. As a teenager, she worked as a maid and earned extra money as a babysitter for songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
It is often claimed that Goffin and King were amused by Boyd’s individual dancing style, so they wrote “The Loco-Motion” for her and had her record it as a demo (the record was intended for Dee Dee Sharp).

However, as King said in an interview with NPR and in her “One to One” concert video, they knew she could sing when they met her, and it would be just a matter of time before they would have her record songs they wrote, the most successful being “The Loco-Motion”.

Music producer Don Kirshner of Dimension Records was impressed by the song and Boyd’s voice and had it released.
The song reached #1 in the United States in 1962. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

After the success of “The Loco-Motion”, Boyd was stereotyped as a dance-craze singer and was given limited material.

The same year, Goffin and King wrote “He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)” (performed by The Crystals) after discovering that Boyd was being regularly beaten by her boyfriend.
When they inquired why she tolerated such treatment, Eva replied, with apparent sincerity, that her boyfriend’s actions were motivated by his love for her.

Phil Spector’s arrangement of the song was ominous and ambiguous.
“ It was a brutal song, as any attempt to justify such violence must be, and Spector’s arrangement only amplified its savagery, framing Barbara Alston’s lone vocal amid a sea of caustic strings and funereal drums, while the backing vocals almost trilled their own belief that the boy had done nothing wrong.

In more ironic hands (and a more understanding age), ‘He Hit Me’ might have passed at least as satire. But Spector showed no sign of appreciating that, nor did he feel any need to. No less than the song’s writers, he was not preaching, he was merely documenting.” ”

Boyd’s other single recordings were “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby”, “Some Kinda Wonderful”, “Let’s Turkey Trot” and a remake of the Bing Crosby standard “Swinging on a Star,” recorded with Big Dee Irwin (though Boyd was not credited on the label).

Boyd also recorded the song “Makin’ With the Magilla” for an episode of the 1964 Hanna-Barbera cartoon series The Magilla Gorilla Show.
She continued to tour and record throughout the sixties, but her commercial potential plummeted after 1964.

 

She retired from the music industry in 1971.
She never owned the rights to her recordings. Although the prevailing rumor in the 1970s was that she had received only $50 for “The Loco-Motion,”
Interviewed between 1988 after the success of the Kylie Minogue cover version of “The Loco-Motion”, Boyd stated that she did not like the new version; however its then-current popularity allowed her to make a comeback in show business.

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