Day 238: The Loco-Motion

Song: “The Loco-Motion” by Little Eva
Reached #1: August 25, 1962 (her first, 1 week)

Loco-Motion 1.0

“Little Eva” Boyd was working as a maid and babysitter in Brooklyn in the early ‘60s.  Two of her clients were Brill Building songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin – who discovered that Eva had a pretty good singing voice.  They wrote “The Loco-Motion” for her.  Simple, right?

The problem is that, even though Carole King has said that’s how the song happened, people still choose to believe that King/Goffin saw Eva create a new dance while cleaning the house, and wrote the song about it.  In reality, there was no dance until after “The Loco-Motion” hit #1 – Boyd had to invent one for the inevitable TV and touring appearances.

Unfortunately for Boyd, the song typecast her – and pretty much ended her singing career just after it started. 

But while the song didn’t do much for Little Eva in the long run, it had legs of its own.   There was the Grand Funk version, which was featured here back in May.  I still don’t get why they did it.

And, for me, the version that created my long-term low-level crush on Kylie Minogue… the Aussie soap actress turned global megastar, a transition that started in 1988 with her version of the song, which hit #3 in 1988:

Loco-motion 3.0

If you look around, you can find her 1987 version, just called “Locomotion” – it’s a more faithful (and less heavily-produced) take on the song.

As for Little Eva… she was the inspiration for the controversial Crystals track “He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)”, written by Goffin/King when she told them that it was OK that her boyfriend hit her, because it meant he loved her.   50 years later, unfortunately, there are a lot of people who still believe that…

Tomorrow… what’s the word?

Other songs that reached #1 on August 25:
1958
– Two songs hit #1:
     – “Little Star” by the Elegants (their first, 1 week, Hot 100)
     – “Bird Dog” by the Everly Brothers (their third, 1 week, Best Seller chart, last song to be a recognized #1 on any Billboard chart other than the Hot 100)
1973 – “Brother Louie” by the Stories (their first, 2 weeks)
1979 – “My Sharona” by the Knack (their first, 6 weeks)

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