Millie (Small)

  • Real Name: Millicent Smith - also known as Millicent "Dolly May"
  • Birth Date: 6th October 1946
  • Birth Place: Clarendon Jamaica
  • Millie's singing career began at around the time she entered her teens. She rapidly became a popular artist in the West Indies and was one of the few female performers to be involved in the branch of R&B music that grew in those islands- 'Ska'. In fact her early local successes were made as half of a duet called 'Roy And Millie'- the other half was Roy Panton. She also recorded as half of 'Owen & Millie' (Owen Gray) and 'Jackie & Millie' (Jackie Edwards). These record releases were on labels like 'Studio One', 'Island' and the legendary 'Blue Beat'. In fact she was to become known in the West Indies as the 'Blue Beat Girl' and 'Ska' is still known by many people as 'blue beat'. There were so many parallel releases on these labels in the West Indies and the UK that it is difficult to unravel a true UK discography for many West Indian artists, Millie is no exception.

    Despite Millie's success on Fontana, the company issued only the record shown here on the Extended Play format. This is now quite hard to find, but there are two more even rarer EP issues in existence. One was issued later on the Island label and another- rarer still- a collection of material that she recorded for Blue Beat before her chart career, but I have never seen a picture sleeve for that release.

    Millie Small was brought to Britain during 1963 by Chris Blackwell, who later did much to promote Reggae in the UK. Her first UK release 'Don't You Know' owed rather less to her Ska background, being accompanied by an orchestra conducted by Lord Rockingham's Harry Robinson. It didn't sell too badly but Millie's unique high pitched style wasn't enough to get it into the chart. However, her second release was a stronger song and was based more closely to the West Indian rhythms she was accustomed to. It became a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic reaching #2 in the U.S. chart as well as in Britain. Sadly, despite the great success of the record, it did not set a new musical style in people's awareness. 'My Boy Lollipop' was simply regarded by most record buyers at the time as an item of delightful, but lightweight, 'pop' . (Incidentally the record is alleged by some to have a young 'Rod Stewart' on harmonica). Although she had a couple of further minor hits, she never managed to consolidate her famous smash. She remained in the public conscience for a long time and was also regarded by many as a role model; something with which the charming lady was never entirely comfortable.

    Ska became popular on both sides of the Atlantic, reaching its peak in the UK during the late 1960s. Its popularity was more enduring in the UK than in the US, probably because of West Indian emigrees that went to Britain taking their musical enthusiasm with them. Ska gradually evolved into reggae, but was revived during the 1970s and 1980s by UK groups like the 'Specials'.

    1950s & 1960s 45rpm UK Discography

    • Listings include UK 45 singles releases only
    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See lower list for EP releases

    Fontana TF425 1963 Don't You Know/ Until You're Mine  
    Fontana TF449 1964 My Boy Lollipop/ Something's Gotta Be Done #2
    Fontana TF479 1964 Sweet William/ Oh Henry #30
    Fontana TF502 1964 I Love The Way You Love/ Bring It On Home To Me  
    Fontana TF515 1965 I've Fallen In Love With A Snowman/ What Am I Living For  
    Fontana TF529 1965 See You Later Alligator/ Chilly Kisses  
    Fontana TF591 1965 My Street/ It's Too Late  
    Fontana TF617 1965 Bloodshot Eyes/ Tongue Tied #48
    Fontana TF740 1966 Killer Joe/ Carry Go Bring Come  
    Fontana TF796 1967 Chicken Feed/ Wings Of A Dove  
    Fontana TF948 1968 When I Dance With You/ Hey Mr. Love  
    Decca F12948 1969 Readin' Writin' Arithmetic/ I Want You Never To Stop  
    Brit WI 1002 1966 My Street/ A Mixed Up Fickle Moody Self Centred, Spoiled Kind Of Boy  
    Island WIP 6021 1967 You Better Forget/ I Am In Love  
     Millie's issues after TF617 were credited to 'Millie Small' as were most of her US and West Indian releases.

    EP Discography

    • Collector's Items are shown In Red
    • See Upper List For Singles releases

    Blue Beat BBEP302 196? "Millie" (w. Roy Panton, Owen Gray)  
    Over & Over/ Sit & Cry/I'll Go/Do You Know
    Fontana TFE17425 1964 "My Boy Lollipop" (w. Harry Robinson Accomp.)  
    My Boy Lollipop/Don't You Know?/Something's Gotta Give/Until You're Mine
    Island IEP705 1966 "Millie And Her Boyfriends" (w. Roy Panton, Owen Gray, Jackie Edwards)  
    Never Say Goodbye/ We'll Meet/ Since I Met You Baby/ I Don't Want You

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