The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” by Gayla Peevey

Gayla Peevey got what she wished for when she released her hit Christmas song, “I want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” Gayla Peevey was 10 years old at the time she recorded her cheerful tune and she quickly took to the path of fame. Her childhood stardom was so exciting for her hometown of Oklahoma City that the song started a campaign for the child’s Christmas wish. The people of Oklahoma City raised enough money to buy Gayla a hippopotamus for her on Christmas day in 1953. Gayla, after literally getting a “Hippopotamus for Christmas,” donated it to her local Oklahoma Zoo. Gayla continued to make some newer music under an alias, but generally lived a relatively normal life after her one-hit wonder “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”

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