• RiddimStyle Staff Writer

Jamaican Music Pioneer Millie Small is dead

Updated: May 25, 2020

Jamaican pop music trailblazer, Millie Small who help introduced Jamaican ska to

the world is dead. Reports indicate that Ms Small who was 72, died after suffering a stroke.

In 1964 under the guidance of Chris Blackwell, Millie scored her big hit My Boy Lollipop, the single reached number two In both the US and the UK. The song was a cover of Barbie Gaye's recording My Boy Lollypop released in 1956. The recording was the first million seller from a Jamaican in the UK. The song was recorded in The UK with a watered down ska arrangement done by legendary guitarist and arranger Ernest Ranglin.

Small followed her big hit with songs including, Sweet William, Oh Henry and I Love the Way You Love, However none of these singles enjoyed the big success of the pop flavoured, My Boy Lollipop.

Millie Small was among the entertainers that represented Jamaican music at the World's Fair, held New York in 1964. The contingent also included Jimmy Cliff, Eric “Monty” Morris, and Alphonso Castro. Prince Buster, Linda Jack, Roy Willis, Sonia Blake, Byron Lee, Janet Phillips,Miss World Carol Crawford, Ronnie Nasrala, Beverley Neath, and Ken Khouri.

In 2011, Small was conferred with the national honour of the Order of Distinction, (commander class) for her contribution to the Jamaican music industry.