Gayla Peevey

Gayla Peevey (born 1943) is perhaps best known for her song, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (Columbia, 1953). A child star from Oklahoma City, she was 10 years old when she recorded the novelty song written by John Rox in 1950. The Oklahoma City Zoo capitalized upon the popularity of the song in 1953 through a fund raising campaign to "buy a hippo for Gayla" in order to bring a hippo to the zoo. (They had no hippopotamus at the time.) The song raised $3,000. A baby hippo, named Matilda, was procured and flown in to Oklahoma City and presented by Peevey to the zoo. Gayla went on to record other children's songs for Columbia, such as Got a Cold In the Node For Christmas and Angel in the Christmas Play. She also recorded a duet with Columbia's other child singer Jimmy Boyd (who had the hit recording of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus), entitled "I'm So Glad", and "Kitty in a Basket". In 1959, Gayla Peevey adopted the pseudonym Jamie Horton and recorded a series of pop singles for Joy Records. One of them, My Little Marine, reached a peak position of #84 in 1960 and was song #507 for that year. It was her only song that reached the Charts. Under the pseudonym, she also recorded Robot Man which was popular in Australia in 1960, and was later recorded by Connie Francis. She graduated from San Diego State University, and received a teaching degree. She left teaching and went into advertising, where she owned her own firm for 15 years. Read more on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.