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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Millie Small born 6 October 1946

Millie (born Millicent Dolly May Small, 6 October 1946, Clarendon, Jamaica) — often known as "Little Millie Small" — is best known as the singer of the 1964 hit, "My Boy Lollipop". (Her reported date of birth varies from 1942 to 1948. Other sources give her date of birth as 8 October.)
Millie was the daughter of a sugar plantation overseer. At the age of 12 she won a talent contest in Kingston. A test recording was her prize. In her teens Small was recording for Coxsone Dodd's Studio One record label, and was part of a duo called Roy and Millie (with Roy Panton). They had a hit with ‘We’ll Meet’ (Island label) which stayed at Number One in the Jamaican charts for six weeks.
In 1963 Millie was brought to Britain by record producer Chris Blackwell. He later did much to promote reggae outside Jamaica. In London she recorded ‘My Boy Lollipop’. This had originally been recorded and released by Barbie Gaye in 1956. When Small’s version was released in March 1964 it was a massive hit, selling over 600,000 copies in Britain alone, and reaching Number Two in the British and American charts.

‘My Boy Lollipop’ was also 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). Small was the first artist to have a hit that was recorded
in the so-called Bluebeat style (she became known as the ‘Queen of the Bluebeat’) that had recently emerged from Jamaica and which, as with Ska, was the direct ancestor of reggae. In Britain her rise to fame was meteoric. With her bubbly personality she became something of a national treasure.
In 1964 she made her film debut singing ‘My Boy Lollipop’ in a pop musical called Swinging UK but it was television that really put her on the map. In less than a year she made many television appearances, mostly as a guest on pop music shows such as Juke Box Jury, Thank Your Lucky Stars, Ready Steady Go and Top of the Pops. Also in 1964 she was seen in Around the Beatles with the Beatles and Cilla Black, as well as a documentary called Millie in Jamaica. There was an appearance in a BBC special called Carnival with Winifred Atwell that promoted the music of the Caribbean.
At the end of the year, on Boxing Day 1964, Millie made her acting debut when she co-starred with Elisabeth Welch in an original musical, specially written for television, called The Rise and Fall of Nellie Brown. Light-hearted, captivating and with some catchy songs, Nellie Brown was a Christmas treat. Small gave a delightful performance as Selina, a young Jamaican girl who journeys from her loveless home in Liverpool to London to search for her famous ‘cousin’, Lillabelle Astor, played by Elisabeth Welch.

Although she had a couple of minor hits after ‘My Boy Lollipop’, Millie never managed to consolidate her first success in the charts. However, in Britain, she remained in the public conscience for a long time. In 1970 Small appeared in Horace Ove’s concert film Reggae, shot at Wembley’s Caribbean Music Festival, and in 1987 ‘My Boy Lollipop’ re-entered the British charts, reaching Number Forty-six.
She was perceived as a one-hit wonder novelty artist and she only made the Top 40 one more time, with the "My Boy Lollipop" sound-alike "Sweet William." She released an entire album with these two hits. In a trivial piece of information legend has it that popular British singer Rod Stewart played the Harmonica on "lollipop", more significantly the earnings from the sales of "lollipop", Chris Blackwell's first hit helped him to secure a strong firm hold in the music industry to later cultivate the likes of Reggae legend Bob Marley and Rock groups such as U2.
Millie continued to tour and perform up to the early 1970s. She lived in Singapore from 1971 to 1973 before returning to the UK which is now her home. She has an adult daughter, who has studied art and the music industry. (info various sources) 

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Millie Small – My Boy Lollipop album go here:

01 My Boy Lollipop
02 Oh Henry
03 Do-Re-Mi
04 Since You've Been Gone
05 I'm Love Again
06 Sugar Dandy
07 Sweet Willian
08 Blue Louey
09 Something's Gotta Be Donne
10 He's Mine
11 Tom Hark
12 Be My Guest
13 Walking To New Orleans
14 Let The Four Winds Blow
15 Don't You Know
16 Until You're Mine
17 I Want You To Know
18 See Ypu Later, Alligator
19 Don't Come Knocking
20 What Am I Living For
21 What A Price
22 Tell Me That You Love Me
23 Three Nights A Week
24 Bloodshot Eyes
25 Tongue Tied
26 Chilly Kisses
27 I've Fallen In Love With A Snowman
28 I Love The Way You Love
29 Bring It On Home To Me
30 He's Mine (alt.)
31 Killer Joe
32 I'm Blue

A big thank you to “Traditional Style” blog for link.