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Little Eva was born on this date in 1943. She was a Black singer.
Eva Narcissus Boyd was from Bellhaven, North Carolina, and had twelve siblings. At age fifteen, she moved to the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, New York. There, she worked as a babysitter for songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin. While attracted to Boyd's dancing style, they wrote "The Loco-Motion" for her and had her record it as a demo. The record was released, and the song became a hit, reaching #1 in the United States in 1962. The song was also a hit again for Grand Funk Railroad in 1974.
She was not a one-hit wonder, as some contended. Boyd's other hits are "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." She sang background for The Drifters, Ben E. King, and others. She continued to tour and record throughout the 1960s, but her commercial potential plummeted after 1964. She retired from the music business in 1971.
Boyd was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2001 but continued to work until she became too weak to perform. Eva Narcissus Boyd died on April 9, 2003; she was 59. Boyd had two daughters, a son, 15 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. Her grey gravestone has the image of a steam locomotive prominently engraved on the front, and the epitaph reads: "Singing with the Angels."
Heart & Soul
A Celebration of Black Music Style in America 1930-1975
by Merlis Davin Seay, foreword by Etta James
Copyright 2002, Billboard Books