The song is notable for appearing in the American Top 5 three times, each time in a different decade: in 1962 by the American pop singer Little Eva (U.S. No. 1); in 1974 by the American band Grand Funk Railroad (also U.S. No. 1); and finally in 1988 by the Australian singer Kylie Minogue (U.S. No. 3).
Australian actress Kylie Minogue released a cover version of the song in July 1987 as her debut single, 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 signed a record deal with Mushroom Records to release the song as a single. This first recorded version was released on July 13, 1987 in Australia, and was later released the same year in New Zealand, Italy, and Sweden.
The 1987 "Locomotion" release was a huge hit in Minogue's native Australia, reaching No. 1 on the Kent Music Report singles chart and remaining there for seven weeks.
The success of the song in her home country resulted in Minogue's signing a record deal with PWL Records in London and to working with the successful team Stock Aitken & Waterman. On July 28, 1988, a re-recorded version produced by Stock Aitken & Waterman was released worldwide with the title "The Loco-Motion". The 1988 release of the song in the United Kingdom debuted at No. 2 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. With sales of 440,000 it was the 11th best selling single of the year. The song became Minogue's third top five rated single in the UK and remains one of her most successful single releases to date.