Millie Small, singer of “My Boy Lollipop”, died at 72

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Millie Small, the Jamaican singer behind the ska classic “My Boy Lollipop”, died of stroke, the BBC and The Jamaica Observer report. She was 72 years old, according to a press release from Island Records.

Born in southern Jamaica, Small started her recording career in Kingston before moving to London in 1963. She signed with Island, then an emerging label specializing in Jamaican music, and released “My Boy Lollipop” for international success in 1964. She left the label in 1970 and released a cover of “Mayfair” by Nick Drake, but it was the B side, “Enoch Power”, which took off. In response to Enoch Powell’s famous “Rivers of Blood” speech, the song became an anti-racist hymn and directed his 1970 album Time will tell us.

In 2011, decades after retiring from music, Small was appointed Commander of the Order of the Distinction in Jamaica for his role in the country’s music industry. After the announcement of her death, the founder of the island, Chris Blackwell, said in a press release: “Millie opened the door of Jamaican music to the world … She was a really lovely person, very funny, with a great sense of humor. She was really special. ”

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