Year
1962

Little Eva earns a #1 hit with “Loco-Motion”

Just as pop stardom most often depends on possessing abundant talent and a great capacity for hard work, it also can require being in the right place at the right time. This was certainly true for the diminutive, 17-year-old singer named Eva Narcissus Boyd, who scored her first and only #1 hit on this day in 1962 with “The Loco-Motion.”

Eva Boyd was newly arrived in New York City from her native North Carolina and looking for work when a neighbor in Brooklyn pointed her toward the job that would end up changing her life: working as a nanny for a young, professional Manhattan couple. It just so happened that the couple looking for a new babysitter were Gerry Goffin and Carole King, future members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame then working for the legendary Don Kirshner as salaried songwriters at Aldon Music. In the early 1960s, Goffin and King were busy cranking out tunes they hoped would be hits for the likes of Bobby Vee and the Shirelles. When it came time to cut a demo of a brand-new song they’d written about a nonexistent dance craze, Gerry and Carole decided to reward Eva’s hard work running their household and caring for their infant daughter by letting her pick up a few bucks for recording the demo vocals. It turned out to be the biggest tip ever given in the history of the American childcare industry.

As fate would have it, “The Loco-Motion” was turned down by the singer Goffin and King had in mind when they wrote it: Dee Dee Sharp of “Mashed Potato Time” fame. When Aldon boss Don Kirshner heard the demo version of the song with Eva’s vocals, he pronounced it a hit in as-is condition and made it the very first release on his new label, Dimension. Soon enough, the song that opens with the lyric “Everybody’s doo-oo-in’ a brand-new dance now…” was climbing the pop charts and spawning a short-lived dance craze based on the truly brand-new dance Little Eva made up herself to fit the song.

While “The Loco-Motion” would make a second trip to #1 thanks to an unlikely cover by 1970s rockers Grand Funk, it was the only smash hit in the short singing career of Little Eva.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Paris liberated

After more than four years of Nazi occupation, Paris is liberated by the French 2nd Armored Division and the U.S. 4th Infantry Division. German resistance was light, and General Dietrich von Choltitz, commander of the German garrison, defied an order by Adolf Hitler to blow up ...read more

Englishman swims the Channel

Matthew Webb, a 27-year-old merchant navy captain, becomes the first known person to successfully swim the English Channel. Captain Webb accomplished the grueling 21-mile crossing, which really entailed 39 miles of swimming because of tidal currents, in 21 hours and 45 minutes. ...read more

Council of Nicaea concludes

The Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical debate held by the early Christian church, concludes with the establishment of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I in May, the council also deemed the Arian belief of Christ as inferior to God as ...read more

The Great Moon Hoax

On this day in 1835, the first in a series of six articles announcing the supposed discovery of life on the moon appears in the New York Sun newspaper. Known collectively as “The Great Moon Hoax,” the articles were supposedly reprinted from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. The ...read more

Liberation of Paris

On this day in 1944, French General Jacques Leclerc enters the free French capital triumphantly. Pockets of German intransigence remained, but Paris was free from German control. Two days earlier, a French armored division had begun advancing on the capital. Members of the ...read more

Germans burn Belgian town of Louvain

Over the course of five days, beginning August 25, 1914, German troops stationed in the Belgian village of Louvain during the opening month of World War I burn and loot much of the town, executing hundreds of civilians. Located between Liege, the fortress town that saw heavy ...read more

173rd Airborne Brigade departs Vietnam

U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade, among the first U.S. ground units sent to Vietnam, ceases combat operations and prepares to redeploy to the United States as part of Nixon’s troop withdrawal plan. As the redeployment commenced, the communists launched a new offensive to disrupt the ...read more

Gooden becomes youngest 20-game winner in history

On August 25, 1985, New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden becomes the youngest 20-game winner in Major League Baseball history. Gooden was 20 years, nine months and nine days old when he led his Mets over the San Diego Padres 9-3–a month younger than “Bullet” Bob Feller was when he ...read more

Outlaw Bill Doolin is killed

The outlaw Bill Doolin is killed by a posse at Lawson, Oklahoma. Born in Arkansas in 1858, William Doolin was never as hardened a criminal as some of his companions. He went west in 1881, finding work in Oklahoma at the big ranch of Oscar D. Halsell. Halsell took a liking to the ...read more

Hurricane David is born

On this day in 1979, the storm that will become Hurricane David forms near Cape Verde off the African coast in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. It would go on to devastate the island of Dominica, and then the Dominican Republic, killing 1,500 people. On August 27, two days after ...read more

In Cold Blood author dies

Truman Capote, the author of the pioneering true-crime novel In Cold Blood dies at age 59 in Los Angeles. In Cold Blood told the story of the 1959 murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, two parolees from the Kansas State Penitentiary, ...read more

Samantha Smith dies in plane crash

Samantha Smith, the 13-year-old “ambassador” to the Soviet Union, dies in a plane crash. Smith was best known for writing to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov in 1982 and visiting the Soviet Union as Andropov’s guest in 1983. In late 1982, Smith, a fifth-grader at Manchester ...read more