Ska + Lollipops = Jamaican Music Taking Over

Right, first thing's first.  I heard this song the night before last for the first time since I was little, and having done so, proceeded to listen to it 7 or 8 more times.  I just couldn't stop!  I kid you not; this cheesy little pop song did something to me:

But, before you go thinking that this is just a nice combination of high-pitched vocals and cutesy sentiment, remember that great oaks from little acorns grow …

Millie Small was 16 when she was brought from Jamaica to London to make that record.  She was the first international Jamaican pop star, and it sold 6 million copies worldwide.  Before her, Jamaican music only lived in Jamaica - no one had heard of ska or rocksteady or reggae.

It was a 25 year old called Chris Blackwell who brought her over to Britain.  He'd been brought up in Jamaica and wanted to showcase its culture to the world.  After Millie, Blackwell discovered Jimmy Cliff – one of the greatest of the greats.  Then, when Cliff walked out him, Blackwell signed Bob Marley & the Wailers, and the rest is history: Jamaican music now belongs to the world.

But Millie was the first.


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