♫ Loco-Motion ♫

Tonight I wanted to give you something to get your toes tapping, so I am taking you back in time to 1962, the year Little Eva had a hit with this song, Loco-Motion!  Remember this one?  I was 11 years old, with coke-bottle glasses and braces on my teeth!

The husband-and-wife songwriting team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote this song. Little Eva was Eva Boyd, the babysitter – actually more of a nanny – being paid $35/week to watch their daughter Louise and clean the house. They were all young: Eva was 17, King 19 and Goffin 22. One day King came up with a melody that Goffin thought sounded like a locomotive, and when he saw Eva dancing with their daughter to the tune, he got the idea to make the song about a brand new dance – The Loco-Motion. He wrote the lyrics and they brought Eva to the studio and had her record the song as a demo.  They offered the song to Dee Dee Sharp, but she turned it down.  Producer Don Kirshner thought Eva’s vocal was just fine, so they named her Little Eva and had her record the song. The only downside for King and Goffin was losing their nanny: when the song became a million-seller, Eva was able to buy a place of her own.

Sadly, Little Eva died in 2003 at the relatively young age of 59.

In 1974, this became an unlikely #1 US hit for Grand Funk Railroad, who did a rock version of the song. It was just the second time a song hit #1 for two different artists – the first was Go Away Little Girl by Steve Lawrence in 1962 and Donny Osmond in 1971. That song was also written by King and Goffin.

I like both versions … I prefer Little Eva’s, but Grand Funk’s doesn’t hurt my ears, so I will offer you both tonight.  I hope at least one of them gets your toes a-tapping!

The Loco-motion
Little Eva/Grand Funk Railroad

Everybody’s doing a brand-new dance, now
(Come on baby, do the loco-motion)
I know you’ll get to like it if you give it a chance now
(Come on baby, do the loco-motion)
My little baby sister can do it with me
It’s easier than learning your a-b-c’s
So come on, come on, do the loco-motion with me
You gotta swing your hips, now

Come on, baby
Jump up
Jump back
Well, now, I think you’ve got the knack
Wow, wow

Now that you can do it, let’s make a chain, now
(Come on baby, do the loco-motion)
A chug-a chug-a motion like a railroad train, now
(Come on baby, do the loco-motion)
Do it nice and easy, now, don’t lose control
A little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul

Come on, come on
Do the loco-motion with me

Move around the floor in a loco-motion
(Come on baby, do the loco-motion)
Do it holding hands if you get the notion
(Come on baby, do the loco-motion)

There’s never been a dance that’s so easy to do
It even makes you happy when you’re feeling blue
So come on, come on, do the loco-motion with me

You gotta swing your hips, now
(Come on) that’s right (do the loco-motion)
You’re doing fine (come on, do the loco-motion)
Come on, babe (come on, do the loco-motion) hm-hm-hm
Jump up (come on) jump back (do the loco-motion)
You’re looking good (come on, do the loco-motion) hm-hm-hm
Jump up (come on) jump back (do the loco-motion) hm-hm-hm yeah yeah yeah

Songwriters: Carole King / Gerry Goffin
The Loco-motion lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

12 thoughts on “♫ Loco-Motion ♫

    • Thanks, Keith! Glad you liked it and remembered it! Like you, I’ll stick with Little Eva’s version, and I do love the backstory. Not too often the babysitter gets the starring role!


  1. Pingback: ♫ Loco-Motion ♫ | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  2. I understand Little Eva. I do not understand Grand Funk Railroad. (Never heard of Kylie, Clive, so I have no idea!)
    But last wedding I went to, maybe 10 years ago, people were still doing the Locomotion, and most of them barely even know what a “locomotive” is.

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  3. I think I prefer the one I grew up with! Didn’t know GFR had covered this, and they needn’t have bothered. But what about Kylie? She had a massive hit with this both sides of the Atlantic, and I have memories of my then three-year old bopping around the lounge to it 😊

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    • When I listened to the Kylie version just now, it did sound familiar, and according to Wikipedia, hers went to #3 here and #2 in the UK, while little Eva’s hit #1 in the U.S. and also #2 in the UK. I like Kylie’s just fine, but I think I still like Little Eva’s best. However … next time I play this, I will definitely include Kylie’s, for it is well-deserving of a spotlight!

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