1963 – Little Eva – Turkey Trot
There was a dance called the Turkey Trot that gained notoriety between 1900 and 1910. The dance was denounced by the Vatican and considered scandalous and eventually faded away.
You can see Abby doing a portion of the dance on an episode of NCIS; nowadays it looks more humorous than scandalous.
Little Eva was a maid who also had the good fortune to babysit for Carole King and her husband, Gerry Goffin. They wrote The Locomotion for Dee Dee Sharp, but she wasn’t interested in recording the song. They recorded a demo with Little Eva and played it for music producer Don Kirshner (who later worked on music for both the Monkees and the Archies). Don was exceptional at recognizing hit records and had the song released on one of his record labels. The single went to number one on the Hot 100 and sold over a million copies in 1962. The success of the record briefly made a star out of Little Eva.
Little Eva had three more top forty singles in 1962 and 1963. The most unusual single was Let’s Turkey Trot, a song written by Gerry Goffin and Jack Keller. The Cookies (who recorded Chains and Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad About My Baby) and Carole King sang backup vocals on the record. The single reached #20 in 1963.
Little Eva not only toured with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, but she also got to sing the song on Shindig.
Jan and Dean recorded Let’s Turkey Trot on their album Jan & Dean Take Linda Surfin’ but don’t appear to have ever released the song on a single.
Eva was left nearly penniless after the hit records stopped and quit the music business. Nothing changed when for her when Grand Funk Railroad covered The Loco-Motion, but when Kylie Minogue successfully recorded a cover version in 1988, Little Eva was able to make a living off her music by appearing as an oldies act. She died from complications of cancer in 2003.
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