Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Millie Small - Great Jamaican Singer

Millie (born Millicent Dolly May Small, 6 October 1942, in Clarendon, Jamaica) — often known as "Little Millie Small" — is best known as the singer of the 1964 hit, "My Boy Lollipop".


Millie was the daughter of a sugar plantation overseer. In her teens, she was part of a duo called "Roy and Millie" (with Roy Panton) and was recording for Coxsone Dodd's Studio One record label. They had a minor local hit with "We'll Meet."

In late 1963 she was taken to London by Chris Blackwell to make her fourth recording, an Ernest Ranglin rearrangement of "My Boy Lollipop", which had originally been recorded and released by Barbie Gaye in late 1956. Released in March 1964, Small's cover was a massive hit, reaching number two both in the UK Singles Chart and in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Including singles sales, album usage and compilation inclusions, the song has since sold more than seven million copies worldwide.

"My Boy Lollipop" was doubly significant in British music. It was the first major hit for Island Records (although it was actually released via Fontana Records because Blackwell did not want to overextend Island's then-meagre resources), and Small was the first artist to have a hit that was recorded in the so-called "bluebeat" style. This was a "music genre" that had recently emerged from Jamaica, and which, as with ska, was the direct ancestor of reggae.

See you in Jamaica.


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