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 Millie Small—


THIS year, singer Millie Small celebrates more than 50 years of musical history. Her My Boy Lollipop was an international hit in 1964. It was a ska cover of American singer Barbie Gaye’s minor hit, My Girl Lollipop .

Small’s version went to number two in the United Kingdom and United States and made her an overnight star.

The Clarendon-born singer’s song also broke ska big in the UK where it was embraced by working-class white youth called skinheads.

Millie Small

Millie Small

It was the first massive hit by a Jamaican female on both sides of the Atlantic.

Forty-eight years later, My Boy Lollipop was part of the playlist for the 2012 Olympics’ opening ceremony. That’s some feat, considering the other songs played were The End by The Beatles, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by The Eurythmics, MIA’s Paper Planes, and Rolling in The Deep by Adele.


Small’s follow-up recordings, Sweet William and Bloodshot Eyes, also charted in the UK, at numbers 30 and 48, respectively.

Millie Small, whose given name is Millicent Dolly May Small, got her musical start by winning the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour talent contest at the Ambassador Theater in Trench Town at the age of 12.

Millie Small

Millie Small

She relocated to Kingston and shortly after, recorded a duet called Sugar Plum in 1962. This was followed by We Will Meet with Roy Panton for Clement ‘Coxson’ Dodd’s Studio One label.

In 2011, Small was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for her contribution to the country’s music industry.

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