On this day in 1962: Little Eva’s “The Loco-Motion” hits No. 1 on the charts, and doing the Loco-Motion becomes the latest dance fad.
Eva Narcissus Boyd was born about 1945 in Belhaven. She had moved to New York to get into music but was working as a babysitter for songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin when she got her big break — a chance to do a demo tape of her employers’ latest composition. The record’s fast rise catches all by surprise, and Little Eva has to improvise a dance to go with the record.
Little Eva’s stardom will prove short-lived. In 1971, broke, she returns to Belhaven, suffers depression, goes on welfare, waits on tables. In 1987, she tells People magazine, “I don’t loco-mote no more” — but her rediscovery results in her going full-time on the oldies concert circuit.
She will die of cancer in Kinston in 2003.