Observer senior writer

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!

MOST people's memories of Millie Small in 1964 are of her climbing international charts with the massive hit song, My Boy Lollipop. But for Dennis Smith, it was her return to Jamaica that year that made the greatest impression.

“Shi was at di airport an' shi had on black leather pants an' a white boots, an' har hair was shocking!” Smith, who later found fame as deejay Al Capone, remembered.

Small, who died in London on May 5 at age 73, would become friends with Al Capone shortly after he moved to the United Kingdom in the early 1970s. He said their last conversation took place one week before her death.

“Shi was very upbeat, never sound like somebody who sick or depressed. I was shocked when I got the news,” he told the Jamaica Observer from his London home.

A statement from Small's family said she suffered a stroke last weekend and went into a coma. The trailblazing singer was taken to Charing Cross Hospital in London where she died..

According to Al Capone, he and the reclusive Small were “phone friends” who had not seen each other in 40 years.

“Lots of people try get har to do dub plates an' shows an' when di time come shi kept putting dem off. Shi not budging,” said the veteran toaster.

The Clarendon-born Small became an instant star through My Boy Lollipop, a catchy ska single which entered the top 10 of pop charts in the UK and United States. It was produced by Chris Blackwell and arranged by guitarist Ernie Ranglin.

Her success opened doors for other Jamaican acts in the UK including Desmond Dekker and The Aces, Dandy Livingston, Jimmy Cliff and Nicky Thomas.

She never replicated that mega triumph and by the 1970s was forgotten, even though some of her contemporaries continued to do well on the resurgent European ska scene.

Al Capone, who is also from Clarendon, hailed Small's understated accomplishments.

“Shi set di pace for all artistes. Millie was Jamaica's first superstar long before Bob Marley. She's high up there,” he said.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper ? email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
2020lpl???????? | ???