My Boy Lollipop (2:00)

Cover of Island Life: 50 Years of Island Records

From Island Life: 50 Years of Island Records and 72 other releases

“My Boy Lollipop” is a song written in the mid-1950s and usually credited to Robert Spencer, Morris Levy and Johnny Roberts. It was originally recorded by the American singer Barbie Gaye and became a minor Rhythm & Blues hit in late 1956, spelled “My boy lollypop” on the original 78 record label. It is most famous, however, for the 1964 recording by Jamaican singer Millie Small which is considered the first international ska hit.

The song was discovered by Chris Blackwell, who was trying to find songs for Millie Small to record. Millie’s version was recorded in a ska/bluebeat-style, and became her breakthrough blockbuster hit in Britain, reaching #2. It also went to #1 in Ireland and #2 in the United States. “My Boy Lollipop” was the first record to help Blackwell’s Jamaican label, Island Records, make millions. With over seven million copies sold, it remains one of the best-selling reggae/ska hits.

The record’s arrangement is credited to Ernest Ranglin, who also plays guitar on the recording. A persistent rumor claims the not yet famous Rod Stewart performed the harmonica solo on the recording; Contrary to legend, the harmonica player was not Rod Stewart but Pete Hogman of The Pete Hogman Blues Band and Hoggie & The Sharpetones. Hogman told us: “The backing for ‘My Boy Lollypop’ was recorded live in the studio. I played harmonica and Ernest Ranglin played a black Gibson. Several people have claimed to have played the harmonica break but I can promise you it was me, and it was all recorded in London.

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  • NitaD1

    Cute song

    14 Feb 2013 Reply
  • BlueOclock

    ImAnOldiesFan2, Aren't you the one that possesses the entire output of Tiny Tim? Hahahahaha......just kidding! I love the song, but you know beauty is in the ear of the listener!

    29 Sep 2012 Reply
  • ImAnOldiesFan2

    Strange voice...didn't like this song way back when, still don't!

    31 Jul 2012 Reply
  • johnny70s

    Unique voice

    20 Feb 2012 Reply
  • discmann

    Thanks,Jette ;-)

    7 Oct 2011 Reply
  • headey

    "In 1964, The Five Dimensions were hired to provide backing for Jamaican singer Millie Small on her hit recording of My Boy Lollipop. ...according to guitarist Kenny White, it was occasional band member Pete Hogman who played on the session. Pete apparently looked very much like Rod in appearance so it's likely that Millie Small's manager Chris Blackwell (who also managed Birmingham's Spencer Davis Group) was mistaken in identifying him. Other sources have also claimed John "Junior" Wood of the Jeff Beck Group as being the likely contender. According to Jimmy Powell though, none of the above stories are correct. "I played harmonica on My Boy Lollipop and Mike Carroll did the clapping" says Jimmy. In addition, Jimmy Powell was also hired by Jack Goode to play the harmonica on P.J. Proby's 1964 hit Hold Me and if you listen to this record you can hear the similarity in the playing which indeed supports Jimmy's claim." www.brumbeat.net/jimmypow.htm

    27 Aug 2011 Reply
  • headey

    Was it Jimmy Powell or Pete Hogman on harmonica? ~~~ JP: "I did the recording. I did the harmonica part." http://www.brumbeat.net/ijpowell.htm ~~~ PH: "I played harmonica and Ernest Ranglin played a black Gibson." http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5305

    27 Aug 2011 Reply
  • inmiblood

    i luv it SO

    13 Feb 2011 Reply
  • Upperhandedx

    thats... Mr.Lollipop.. to you

    21 Oct 2010 Reply
  • jessieconn

    godmother of ska

    6 Aug 2010 Reply
  • nur_giggi

    Lollipop

    15 Jun 2010 Reply
  • mybestmusic

    Wonderful Song ! A Classic ! Love it !

    3 Jun 2010 Reply
  • Haiku96708

    poor millie had to sing this song on and on and like a puppet!

    5 May 2010 Reply
  • Nochek

    lOve.

    23 Apr 2010 Reply
  • rosima200

    Guter alter Song.

    26 Mar 2010 Reply
  • Upperhandedx

    YOU SET THE WORLD UN FIRAH

    4 Mar 2010 Reply
  • victoria1908

    sweet song, classic oldie

    12 Feb 2010 Reply
  • Rissacakes

    Absolutely precious. :)

    7 Nov 2009 Reply
  • MAGGY65

    1 minuit 22 seconds, and so much put into it, great

    26 Oct 2009 Reply
  • marcy50

    WOW,,now we are really getting into it...This is way back love it..We used to dance to this at the VFW dances in Delmar,MD..and street dances..Love it..gotta send this to my cousins..

    26 Oct 2009 Reply
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