In Memoriam: Millie Small (1946 – 2020)

Millicent Dolly May Small CD (October 6, 1946 – May 5, 2020) was a Jamaican singer and songwriter, best known for her 1964 recording of “My Boy Lollipop”, which reached number two in both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100. On her UK records, she was usually credited mononymously as Millie.

She had a brief relationship with Peter Asher of the 1960s duo Peter & Gordon. In her August 2016 interview with U.S. journalist Tom Graves she said the relationship had been platonic.

She lived in Singapore from 1971 to 1973 before returning to the United Kingdom where she lived for the remainder of her life. She had a daughter, Jaelee, born in 1984, who studied art and the music industry and is a singer-songwriter.

Millie Small died on May 5, 2020 in England, reportedly from a stroke. News of her death was first announced to the Jamaica Observer by Chris Blackwell, who last met Small some 12 years before her death. He remembered her as “a sweet person” with a “great sense of humor”. Blackwell also credited her for popularizing ska on an international level “because it was her first hit record”.

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