1962 Little Eva – Keep Your Hands Off My Baby
Eva Boyd was born in North Carolina and moved to New York City in 1962. She knew members of the Cookies and sometimes filled in for a member of the group in their live performances. The Cookies suggested that Carole King hire Eva since she could sing well. Eva got hired, but initially, they hired her as a babysitter.
Don Kirshner (who later oversaw the music for the first two Monkees albums) created Dimension Records as a division of Screen Gems. The label existed primarily as an outlet to showcase the songwriting talents of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
The first single from the label was a major hit in 1962, The Loco-Motion by Little Eva. Gerry and Carole used Eva to record a demo of the song for Dee Dee Sharp (although it is clear that Carole is singing at least background vocals on the single and possibly even some of the lead vocals). When Dee Dee passed on the song, they took the demo to Don, and he released it as a single on his new label. The record topped the Hot 100 and sold over a million copies. Eva had to invent a dance step for the dance for her live performances since the song had been written without a specific dance in mind.
The next single from the label was a recording by Carole, It Might As Well Rain Until September, which peaked at #22 in 1962 and became her only top forty single until 1971. The label’s third single was Chains by the Cookies, which reached #17 later that year.
Not a bad start for a new label!
Everybody’s Got A Dance But Me by Big Dee Irwin failed to chart, but after that, the company again released a hit by Little Eva: Keep Your Hands Off My Baby. The single peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 in 1962.
Eva had two more hits on the label in 1963. Lets Turkey Trot was written about a dance that dated back to the era of 1900-1910. Eva’s single peaked at #20 on the Hot 100. She and Dee cut a duet that covered an old Bing Crosby tune, Swinging On A Star, but the single ran out of steam when it got to #38. The two also collaborated on a Christmas record by Goffin and King, I Wish You A Merry Christmas.
Eva continued to tour on the strength of her hits until she retired from singing in 1971. Her career was reignited in 1988 when Kylie Minogue released a new version of The Loco-motion that reached #3 on the Hot 100, #2 on the UK chart, and #1 in Australia.
Eva continued performing in oldies shows until she was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. Eva died in 2003.
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