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MILLIE SMALL

449px-Millie_Small_(1964)

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

Full Name: Millicent Dolly May Small

Description: Vocalist, Jamaica

Known For: Charted in the sixties with – MY BOY LOLLIPOP – 1964

Instruments: Voice

Music Styles: Rock , Easy listening

Location: Jamaica

Date Born: 6th October 1947

Location Born: Clarendon

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BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE
Millie Small

Millicent Dolly May Small CD (born 6 October 1946), better known professionally as Millie Small and also known simply as Millie, is a Jamaican singer-songwriter, best known for her 1964 cover version of “My Boy Lollipop”. Her other stage names include Little Millie Small.

Born Millicent Dolly May Small in Gibralter in Clarendon, Jamaica, Millie was the daughter of a sugar plantation overseer. Like many Jamaican singers of the era her career began by winning the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour talent contest at the age of twelve. Wishing to pursue a career as a singer she moved to live with relatives in Love Lane in Kingston. In her teens, she recorded a duet with Owen Gray (“Sugar Plum”) in 1962 and later recorded with Roy Panton for Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One record label as ‘Roy and Millie’. They had a local hit with “We’ll Meet”.

These hits brought her to the attention of Chris Blackwell who became her manager and legal guardian, who in late 1963 took her to Forest Hill, London, where she was given intensive training in dancing and diction. There she made her fourth recording, an Ernest Ranglin rearrangement of “My Boy Lollipop”, a song originally released by Barbie Gaye in late 1956. Released in March 1964, Small’s version was a massive hit, reaching number two both in the UK Singles Chart and in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and number three in Canada. It also topped the chart in Australia. Initially it sold over 600,000 copies in the United Kingdom. Including singles sales, album usage and compilation inclusions, the song has since sold more than seven million copies worldwide. Millie was not a one-hit wonder. For example, subsequent recordings such as “Sweet William” and “Bloodshot Eyes”, both charted in the UK at numbers 30 and 48, respectively.

“My Boy Lollipop” was doubly significant in British pop music history. It was the first major hit for Island Records (although it was actually released on the Fontana label because Chris Blackwell, Island’s owner, did not want to overextend its then-meagre resources; in the U.S. the record appeared on the Smash Records subsidiary of Mercury Records), and Small was the first artist to have a hit that was recorded in the bluebeat style (she was billed as “The Blue Beat Girl” on the single’s label in the U.S.) This was a music genre that had recently emerged from Jamaica, and was a direct ancestor of reggae.

She appeared on the 1964 Beatles TV special Around The Beatles.

On 6 March 1965, Millie appeared on the Australian television programme, Bandstand. This was as part of a concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Kings Domain, Melbourne, as part of the Moomba Festival. She performed “My Boy Lollipop”, “What Am I Living For” and “See You Later, Alligator”.

Millie continued to tour and perform up to the early 1970s.

On 6 August 2011, being the 49th anniversary of the country’s independence, the Governor-General of Jamaica conferred the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) upon Millicent (Millie) Dolly May Small, for her contribution to the Jamaican music industry. The award was accepted on her behalf by former Prime Minister Edward Seaga.

In July 2012 she stated that she had been recording again and planned to perform in Jamaica for the first time in over 40 years.

Personal life

She had a brief relationship with Peter Asher of the 1960s duo Peter & Gordon.

She lived in Singapore from 1971 to 1973 before returning to the UK which is now her home. She has an adult daughter, who studied art and the music industry.

Discography

Albums
My Boy Lollipop (1964, Smash)
Sings Fats Domino (1965, Fontana)
Time Will Tell (1970/2004, Trojan)