Thursday, May 7, 2020

R.I.P.: Millie Small, '60s Ska Singer

Millie Small 1946-2020
Singer Millie Small, who recorded the 1964 hit single My Boy Lollipop, has died in England this week aged 73 after suffering a stroke, The Daily Mail reports.

Chris Blackwell, who co-produced the song, paid tribute to the singer, describing her as 'really special'.

He told the Jamaica Observer: 'I would say she's the person who took ska international because it was her first hit record.

'She was such a sweet person, really a sweet person. Very funny, great sense of humour. She was really special.'

My Boy Lollipop, recorded in 1964, became a huge hit and sold over six million records, taking ska to a worldwide audience.

Small was born to parents who worked on a sugar plantation and entered a talent contest named The Vere John’s Opportunity Hour in Jamaica at the age of 12.

Island Records founder Mr Blackwell helped Small to further her singing career, with the songwriter travelling to London in 1963.  She then recorded My Boy Lollipop, which became number two in the UK and number one in other parts of the world.

Small was also known for Bloodshot Eyes, Sweet William and Oh Henry.  She stopped recording in 1970

My Boy Lollipop became a huge hit after being recorded by Millie Small in 1964, selling over six million copies and taking ska to a worldwide audience.

The song's original author was Robert Spencer, who wrote the tune in the mid-1950s for American rock and roll and doo-wop group The Cadillacs.

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