Eva Narcissus Boyd (June 29, 1943 – April 10, 2003), known by the stage name of Little Eva, was an American pop singer. Although some sources claim that her stage name was inspired by a character from the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, she stated in an interview that she was named after her aunt, which prompted her family to call her “Little Eva.”
Boyd was born in Belhaven, North Carolina in 1943 and had twelve siblings. At the age of fifteen she moved to the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager, she worked as a maid and earned extra money as a babysitter for songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
It is often claimed that Goffin and King were amused by Boyd’s particular dancing style, so they wrote “The Loco-Motion” for her and had her record it as a demo (the record was intended for Dee Dee Sharp). However, as King said in an interview with NPR and in her “One to One” concert video, they knew she could sing when they met her, and it would be just a matter of time before they would have her record songs they wrote, the most successful being “The Loco-Motion.” Music producer Don Kirshner of Dimension Records was impressed by the song and Boyd’s voice and had it released.The song reached No. 1 in the United States in 1962. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. After the success of “The Loco-Motion,” Boyd was stereotyped as a dance-craze singer and was given limited material.
The same year, Goffin and King wrote “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)” (performed by the Crystals) after discovering that Boyd was being regularly beaten by her boyfriend. When they inquired why she tolerated such treatment, Eva replied without batting an eyelid that her boyfriend’s actions were motivated by his love for her.