Jamaican singer Millie Small — singer of the 1964 hit “My Boy Lollipop,” which is extensively thought of the primary reggae-inspired international hit — has died on the age of 72 after struggling a stroke, in response to an announcement from Island Information. “My Boy Lollipop” — which featured Small’s childlike vocals and a rhythmic bounce that’s technically within the type of the reggae subgenre ska — reached No. 2 in each the U.S. and England that yr.
The tune was additionally the primary main hit for Island Information, whose founder Chris Blackwell produced it. “Millie opened the door for Jamaican music to the world,” Blackwell mentioned in an announcement Wednesday. “I went along with her world wide as a result of every of the territories needed her to show up and do TV exhibits and such, and it was simply unimaginable how she dealt with it. She was such a very candy individual, very humorous, nice humorousness. She was actually particular.”
She was born Millicent Small, one in every of a household of 12 kids, in Jamaica and was raised on the sugar plantation the place her father was employed, in response to The Guardian. She received a expertise contest on the age of 12 and shortly was recording for legendary producer Coxone Dodd, having fun with a number of hits with singer Roy Panton. Blackwell launched a number of of these recordings on Island and introduced Small to London in 1963.
There, she took speech coaching and dancing classes earlier than recording “Lollipop,” which was launched in February of 1964. After the tune turned successful, she made her performing debut in a tv particular, “The Rise and Fall of Nellie Brown.” Whereas she continued to tour and file all through the 1960s, she scored solely minor hits. Nonetheless, in 1970, she launched a tune referred to as “Enoch Energy,” which criticized British politician Enoch Powell’s anti-immigration feedback and was extensively embraced by the nation’s Caribbean inhabitants. She retired from music quickly after, saying “it was the tip of the dream and it felt like the fitting time.”
In 2011, Jamaica’s Governor-Basic made her a Commander within the Order of Distinction for her contribution to the Jamaican music trade.
She is survived by her daughter Jaelee, a singer based mostly in London.