I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayla Peevey
"Gayla Peevey was borned in Oklahoma City, OK in 1943. She is perhaps best known for her song, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (Columbia, 1953). The novelty song written by John Rox in 1950. Gayla was 10 years old when she recorded the song in 1953, and performed it live on the Ed Sullivan Show later that same year (her performance can be seen here).
The Oklahoma City Zoo capitalized upon the popularity of the song in 1953 through a fund raising campaign to “buy a hippo for Gayla” in order to bring a hippo to the zoo. (They had no hippopotamus at the time.) The song raised $3,000, and a baby hippo, named Matilda, was procured and flown in to Oklahoma City. It was officially presented by Peevey to the zoo.
Gayla went on to record other children’s songs for Columbia, such as 'Got a Cold in the Node for Christmas' and 'Angel In the Christmas Play.' She also recorded a duet with Columbia’s other child singer Jimmy Boyd (who had the hit recording of 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'), entitled “I’m So Glad”, and “Kitty in a Basket”.
Peevey graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Education degree. She eventually left teaching, and owned her own advertising firm for 15 years, where she was a media buyer, wrote and produced a lot of jingles, radio spots, etc.
She is married to Cliff Henderson. They have a daughter, Sydney Forest (who works for Walt Disney Co. as a song writer), and three grandchildren."Bio distilled from LastFM and Wiki