The Loco-Motion

"The Loco-Motion" is a 1962 pop song written by American songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Its initial release by Little Eva went to the top of the charts in the United States. The song is notable for making the American Top 5 three times: for Little Eva in 1962 (U.S. #1); for Grand Funk Railroad in 1974 (U.S. #1); and for Kylie Minogue in 1988 (U.S. #3). It is sometimes categorized as belonging to the '60s girl group sound (which Goffin and King helped create), though it was recorded by a solo artist. It is ranked #350 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of "the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".

Original Little Eva version and dance

The song is a popular and enduring example of the dance-song genre: much of the lyrics are devoted to a description of the dance itself, usually done as a type of line dance. The song became an instant smash, reaching #1 in the US in 1962.

The artist known as Little Eva was actually Carole King's babysitter, having been introduced to King and husband Gerry Goffin by The Cookies, a local girl group who would also record for the songwriters. Apparently the dance came before the lyrics; Eva was bopping to some music that King was playing at home, and a dance with lyrics was soon born. It was the first release on the new Dimension Records label, whose girl-group hits were mostly penned and produced by Goffin and King.

The Loco-Motion was quickly recorded by British girl group The Vernons Girls and entered the chart the same week as the Little Eva version. The Vernons Girls' version stalled at number 47 in the UK, while the Little Eva version climbed all the way to number 2 on the UK charts. It re-entered the chart some ten years later and almost became a top ten again, peaking at number 11.

The Little Eva version of the song was featured in the 2006 David Lynch film Inland Empire in a sequence involving the recurrent characters of the girl-friends/prostitutes performing the dance routine. The scene has been noted as being particularly surreal, even by the standards of David Lynch movies.

Grand Funk Railroad version

Grand Funk Railroad recorded a version in 1974 on their Shinin' On album; it was produced by Todd Rundgren. Like the Little Eva version, it reached #1 on the U.S. charts. It reached the top in 1974 (almost 10 years later).

Električni orgazam version

Serbian new wave band Električni Orgazam recorded an album of covers Les Chansones Populaires in 1983. The first single off the release was "Locomotion". Ljubomir Đukić provided the lead vocals. Having left the band, Đukić made a guest appearance on the first band's live album Braćo i sestre ("Brothers and sisters") and that is the only live version of the song the band released.

Track listing

  1. "Locomotion" (3:20) (Gerry Goffin, Carole King)
  2. "Metal Guru" (2:53) (Marc Bolan)


  • Srđan Gojković Gile (guitar, vocals)
  • Ljubomir Đukić (keyboards, vocals)
  • Ivan Stančić Piko (drums)
  • Jovan Jovanović Grof (bass)

Kylie Minogue version

}} "The Loco-Motion" was performed by Australian dance-pop singer Kylie Minogue on her debut album Kylie (1988). It was produced by Stock Aitken & Waterman, and received a mixed reception from music critics. The song, a cover of the Little Eva hit, was subsequently remixed and released as the third single in the summer of 1988 (see 1988 in music) and was a top five hit in the United Kingdom, debuting at number two, giving Minogue the record for the highest entry on the UK singles charts by a female artist, a record previously held by Madonna. It also reached number three on the U.S. Billboard charts with sales in excess of 0.5 million and made number one in Canada.

Jerick's different version of the song was originally released by Minogue as her debut single on July 27, 1987 in Australia under the title "Locomotion". After an impromptu performance of the song at an Australian rules football charity event with the cast of the Australian soap opera Neighbours, Minogue was signed a record deal by Mushroom Records to release the song as a single. The song was a hit in Australia, reaching number one and remained there for an amazing seven weeks. The success of the song in her home country led to her signing a record deal with PWL Records in London and to working with the hit producing team, Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

The music video for "Locomotion" was filmed at Essendon Airport and the ABC studios in Melbourne, Australia. The video for "The Loco-Motion" was created out of footage from the Australian music video.

At the end of 1988, the song was nominated for Best International Single at the Canadian Music Industry Awards.


  • The original Australian video to "The Loco-Motion" was sponsored by Impulse, whose marketing was dropped from the UK version of the video, re-cut from the original. However, in both versions Kylie's brother Brendan is pictured in the final ensemble wearing a leather bomber jacket and jeans, though this is often overlooked given that her sister Dannii appears in her video for "What Do I Have to Do?", an iconic track from her third album Rhythm of Love.
  • When shown on Beavis & Butt-Head, they thought Kylie was Barbie.
  • The song is featured in the classic Amiga game Rock'n'Roll.

Chart performance

In the United Kingdom the song was released on July 25 1988 and debuted at number two on the singles chart — the highest entry on the UK singles charts by a female artist — due to strong 7" single sales and radio airplay. It remained in the number two position for four weeks before falling to number three. The song became Minogue's third top five single in the UK and remains one of her most successful single releases to date.

In late 1988, Minogue travelled to the United States to promote "The Loco-Motion", where she did many interviews and performances on American television.

"The Loco-Motion" debuted at number eighty on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and later climbed to number three for two weeks. The song was Minogue's second single to chart in the U.S., but her first to reach the top ten. It remains her biggest hit in the United States. She would not even reach the top ten again until 2002 with the release of "Can't Get You Out Of My Head", which reached number seven on the chart.

In Canada, the song reached number one.

In Australia, the song was released on July 27 1987 and was a huge hit, reaching number one on the AMR singles chart and remaining there for seven weeks. The song set the record as the biggest Australian single of the decade. Throughout Europe and Asia the song also performed well on the music charts, reaching number one in Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, and South Africa.

The flip-side "I'll Still Be Loving You" is a popular song, and one of the few not released as a single from her huge-selling debut album Kylie.

Chart (1987) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 1
Chart (1988) Peak
Canada Singles Chart 1
Eurochart Hot 100 1
South Africa Singles Chart 1
Switzerland Singles Chart 2
UK Singles Chart 2
Germany Singles Chart 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
France Singles Chart 5
The Netherlands 6
Ireland 1
Belgian Singles Chart 1
Finland Singles Chart 1
Hong Kong Singles Chart 1
U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play 12
U.S. Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 4
Norway Singles Chart 3
Italian Singles Chart 6
Japan Singles Chart 1

Israel #1 New Zealand #8 Sweden #10 USA Dance Chart #12

Formats and track listings

Australia & Sweden "Locomotion" (1987)

Australian cassette single

  1. "Locomotion" — 3:17
  2. "Locomotion" (Chugga-Motion Mix) — 7:38
  3. "Locomotion" (Girl Meets Boy Mix) — 3:15
  4. "Glad to Be Alive" (7" Mix) — 3:42Australian 7" vinyl single
  5. "Locomotion" — 3:15
  6. "Glad to Be Alive" (7" Mix) — 3:42Australian 12" vinyl single
  7. "Locomotion" (Chugga-Motion Mix) — 7:38
  8. "Locomotion" (Girl Meets Boy Mix) — 3:15
  9. "Glad to Be Alive" (7" Mix) — 3:42Swedish 7" vinyl single
  10. "Locomotion" — 3:17
  11. "Getting Closer" (7" Mix) — 3:33Swedish 12" vinyl single
  12. "Locomotion" (Chugga-Motion Mix) — 7:38
  13. "Getting Closer" (Extended Oz Mix) — 4:11
  14. "Locomotion" — 3:17

Worldwide "The Loco-motion" (1988)

UK & USA 7" vinyl single

  1. "The Loco-motion" — 3:17
  2. "I'll Still Be Loving You" — 3:45UK 12" vinyl single
  3. "The Loco-motion" (Kohaku Mix) — 5:59
  4. "I'll Still Be Loving You" — 3:45USA 12" vinyl single
  5. "The Loco-motion" (Kohaku Mix) — 5:59
  6. "The Loco-motion" (Sankie Mix) — 6:35
  7. "The Loco-motion" — 3:17
  8. "I'll Still Be Loving You" — 3:45German CD single
  9. "The Loco-motion" (Kohaku Mix) — 5:59
  10. "I'll Still Be Loving You" — 3:45

Selective list of other recorded versions

The song has inspired dozens of cover versions over the years. Besides those already mentioned:


Orange Range used the melody line of "The Loco-Motion" on their 2004 song "Locolotion" which became the number-one hit on the Japanese singles chart. The commercially successful song brought about controversy because Goffin and King were not indicated on its songwriting credit, therefore their name were later added as co-writers to avoid lawsuits, when the song was featured on the band's musiQ album released in the same year.


External links

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