'My Boy Lollipop' singer Millie Small has died, aged 73

6 May 2020, 09:48

Millie Small
Millie Small. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

The Jamaican singer Millie Small, who scored a massive hit in 1964, has died after having a stroke.

Millie Small was most famous for her hit single 'My Boy Lollipop', which reached number two in both the US and the UK back in 1964.

It is still one of the biggest-selling ska songs of all time, shifting over seven million sales, and arguably bringing the music genre to the mainstream.

Island Records founder Chris Blackwell confirmed her death and remembered her as "a sweet person... really special".

Blackwell brought Small to London in 1963 as a youngster, and produced her cover of 'My Boy Lollipop'. Small later claimed that a young Rod Stewart played harmonica on the song.

"I would say she's the person who took ska international because it was her first hit record," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Millie Small - My Boy Lollipop

"It became a hit pretty much everywhere in the world. I went with her around the world because each of the territories wanted her to turn up and do TV shows and such, and it was just incredible how she handled it.

"She was such a sweet person, really a sweet person. Very funny, great sense of humour. She was really special."

Small continued recording music throughout the 1960s, but was unable to match the huge success of her debut record.

In 2011, the 49th anniversary of Jamaica's independence, the Governor-General created Small a Commander in the Order of Distinction, for her contribution to the Jamaican music industry.