Jamaican singer Millie Small has died at the age of 73 after suffering a stroke.
Star Millie was most famous for her hit single My Boy Lollipop, which reached number two in both the US and the UK in 1964.
Born Millicent Small in Clarendon, south Jamaica, she was one of seven brothers and five sisters, raised on the sugar plantation where her father was an overseer.
The founder of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, confirmed her death in a London hospital. “She was a very sweet person, really special,” said Blackwell, who took Small from Jamaica to England in 1963 to launch her music career.
Small began her music career at the age of twelve, winning a talent contest in Montego Bay. Soon afterwards, she was already recording records at the legendary Kingston Studio One, which is where Blackwell discovered her.
The song “My boy lollipop”, written by Robert Spencer of the doo-wop group The Cadillacs, is considered “the equivalent in ska to the” Heartbreak Hotel of Elvis or the “God save the Queen of the Sex Pistols”, according to the historian musical Laurence Cane-Honeysett.
When her success declined in England, she returned to Jamaica to record with the legendary Trojan Record label, and in the eighties she then left the business to dedicate herself to her family.