Remembering Millie Small

Tributes continue to come in following the passing of Jamaican music pioneer Millie Small, who died in London on Tuesday.

Among those expressing condolences at the passing of the Small, whose cover of My Boy Lollipop catapulted the popularity of Jamaican music on the international stage, is culture and entertainment minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange.

She cited Small as a music icon, noting that she earned the number two slot on the US and UK charts in 1964, selling seven million copies.

“I recall spending time with Millie when I accompanied the late former Prime Minister Edward Seaga on a visit to Island Records in the UK. We had a lovely time with her — and her baby daughter, Jaelee, who is now an accomplished musician — and found her to be that same warm, engaging, fun-loving, bubbly and charming woman that we heard singing My Boy Lollipop, and we found that she was also a wonderful mother,” said Grange.

She noted that Small’s story is one of resilience and the strength of the human spirit. Grange further explained that the singer took the sweet with the bitter as she navigated the music industry at a time when Jamaican music and Jamaican female artistes were still new concepts to the world.

“Jamaica will remain eternally grateful to Millie Small as she paved the way for ska to explode on the world scene through numerous television appearances around the world, including the BBC‘s Top of the Pops. Her unique sound attracted audiences around the world and turned attention on Jamaican music, which allowed other genres to break through internationally,” said Grange.

My Boy Lollipop hitmaker Millie Small dies aged 73In a statement, Small’s daughter shared that her mother suffered a stroke on the weekend after a serious brain hemorrhage and was taken to Charing Cross Hospital in London on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, the hemorrhage was such that the team at the hospital was unable to remove the fluid around her brain. The decision was taken to take her off life support,” the statement read.

Veteran British broadcaster and reggae music insider David Rodigan took to social media to express his regret at Small’s passing. He referred to her as “very special”, noting that her passing is “all too sad”.

“We have lost Millie Small, the first Jamaican artiste to achieve international pop chart success in countless countries with My Boy Lollipop. The song was so popular that it made her a household name in the UK in 1964 and blazed the way for the recognition of ska music. The world fell in love with Millie and I was smitten by the song as soon as I saw her singing it on Ready to Go. She appeared on all the top television shows and her joyful and energetic performance endeared her to us all,” Rodigan posted on Instagram.

Source: Remembering Millie

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