Eva Narcissus “Little Eva” Boyd, the teenaged baby sitter who jumped to the top of the pop charts with her single “The Loco-motion,” died Thursday April 9 after a long illness. She was 59 and had suffered from cervical cancer.Belhaven, N.C., native was one of 15 brothers and sisters, four of whom sang alongside her in a gospel group, the Boyd Five. She moved to New York City as a teenager and auditioned for girl groups without much success, but in 1960 she was working as a maid on Long Island and singing part-time with a backing group called the Cookies when she met Gerry Goffin and Carole King. To earn some extra money she became the baby sitter for their daughter, Louise, and inspired Goffin and King to write “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” about Boyd and her boyfriend.
Goffin and King were working on a new tune when Boyd started dancing along. They asked her to sing the song, “The Loco-Motion,” and then released Boyd’s demo of it as a single in 1962. Boyd appeared on “American Bandstand,” performing her own dance, to promote the cut, and it soon climbed to No. 1. Boyd also had the Top 20 songs “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” and “Let’s Turkey Trot.”
She retired back to Belhaven in the 1970s to raise her family and was working as a waitress until she began performing again on the oldies circuit in the ’90s.
She is survived by two daughters, a son, 15 grandchildren, two brothers and three sisters.