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'My Boy Lollipop' Singer Millie Small Dies at 72

Tichafa Chidzonga
May 07, 2020
06:21 A.M.
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The Jamaican star behind the timeless classic "My Boy Lollipop" Millie Small died at 72-years-old at her home in London, England.

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Millie Smalls rose to fame in England as Jamaica's first artist to score a million-dollar international record-breaking song in 1964 when she released her version of Barbie Gaye's "My Boy Lollipop."

A representative from her record label Island records announced the tragic news that at 72-years-old, Small passed away in her home in London, England, on Tuesday after having experienced a stroke.

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Small began her singing career as a teenager while growing in Jamaica, where she was raised on a sugar plantation with her 12 siblings.

She was discovered by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records in 1963 when she was only 16-years-old.

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"My Boy Lollipop," put ska music on international charts and sold millions of records. In a statement, Blackwell reflected on Small's success and said:

"Millie opened the door for Jamaican music to the world. [My Boy Lollipop] became a hit pretty much everywhere in the world."

Millie Small, poses for a portrait at 16-years-old after scoring a hit with her song "My Boy Lollipop" on October 5, 1965 | Source Michael Stroud/Express/Getty Images

Millie Small, poses for a portrait at 16-years-old after scoring a hit with her song "My Boy Lollipop" on October 5, 1965 | Source Michael Stroud/Express/Getty Images

According to

BBC

, her success led to guest appearances on stages with big names such as The Beatles. However, it was to be her most successful song. After leaving her record label, she admitted years later to ending up broke while living in London.

In 2011 she was recognized for her contribution to Jamaican music and was made a "Commander in the Order of Distinction" by Jamaica's Governor-General. She is survived by her daughter named Jaelee, who is also a singer.

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