Sunday, June 07, 2009

Millie: My Boy Lollipop

With attention being paid to the 50th anniversary of Island Records, let's listen to the record that started it all.

Millie Small was a Jamaican teenager who reached number 1 in Britain and number 2 in America with this record. She was already recording in Jamaica before the founder of Island, Chris Blackwell, came across her and then brought her to London to make records.

Her fame proved short lived, though this 2006 article from the Jamaica Gleaner suggests that she is now living in Britain and still singing.

After the success of "My Boy Lollipop" Chris Blackwell started to looks for other artists to promote and discovered the Spencer Davis Group. You can hear Millie singing backing vocals on that group's recording of "I'm Blue". The piano player is not Steve Winwood but Peter Asher.

For a time he licensed all his artists' records to other labels. The first single on Island, with its distinctive pink label, was "Paper Sun" by Steve Winwood's new band Traffic. You can read more about Island Records on its 50th anniversary website.

One final point: despite the rumours, Rod Stewart did not play the harmonica on "My Boy Lollipop". It was Pete Hogman.


Paul Walter said...

Phwah! You'll be telling us that Bob Holness didn't play saxophone on "Baker Street" next!

Unknown said...

I was indeed at the session, but sadly I did not play the piano or anything else that I can remember!

Peter Asher

Unknown said...

I finally heard it and my memory returned! You know what, I DID play that (very simple) piano part. Sorry I contradicted you - you were right, and thanks for the reminder. Peter Asher CBE