Jamaican singer Millie Small — singer of the 1964 hit “My Boy Lollipop,” which is extensively thought-about the primary reggae-inspired world hit — has died at the age of 72 after struggling a stroke, in response to a press release from Island Data. “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 12 months.
The track was additionally the primary main hit for Island Data, whose founder Chris Blackwell produced it. “Millie opened the door for Jamaican music to the world,” Blackwell stated in a press release Wednesday. “I went together with her all over the world as a result of every of the territories needed her to show up and do TV exhibits and such, and it was simply unbelievable how she dealt with it. She was such a very candy particular person, very humorous, nice sense of humor. She was actually particular.”
She was born Millicent Small, one of a household of 12 youngsters, in Jamaica and was raised on the sugar plantation the place her father was employed, in response to The Guardian. She gained a expertise contest at 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 track turned a success, she made her performing debut in a tv particular, “The Rise and Fall of Nellie Brown.” Whereas she continued to tour and report all through the 1960s, she scored solely minor hits. Nonetheless, in 1970, she launched a track 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 top 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 primarily based in London.