As I hit play on the video below, I can’t help but feel a rush of nostalgia and excitement wash over me. The scene opens to a young woman in a brightly colored dress, backed by a band of grooving musicians. It’s impossible not to tap your feet along to the song’s infectious beat. This is the performance of Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollypop” on the iconic television program “Hullabaloo” in 1964, and it’s a performance that changed the course of pop music forever.
The mid-1960s were a time of great change and excitement in America. The world was still reeling from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but there was a sense of optimism and hope in the air. The economy was booming, with a gallon of gas costing a mere 30 cents and a dozen eggs for just 53 cents. The Beatles had just arrived in the US, causing a frenzy of Beatlemania that swept the nation. And it was in this context that Millie Small burst onto the scene with her infectious ska hit.
Watching this performance, it’s clear why “My Boy Lollypop” became such a hit. Millie’s voice is sweet and soulful, with a hint of mischievousness that perfectly captures the spirit of the song. And the band behind her is tight and funky, with a killer horn section that gives the song an irresistible groove. But it’s not just the music that makes this performance so special; it’s how Millie commands the stage. She’s confident and charismatic, radiating joy and energy in every movement.
It’s impossible not to feel transported back in time while watching this performance. The bright colors, bold fashion, and the sense of fun and freedom in the air all capture the spirit of the 60s in a way that few other performances can. But it’s not just nostalgia that makes this performance so timeless. The song is a classic with a catchy and irresistible melody. And Millie’s performance elevates it to new heights, making it a true pop masterpiece.
But what is it about “My Boy Lollypop” that captured the hearts of so many listeners? The song was originally written by Robert Spencer of the doo-wop group The Cadillacs and was first recorded by Barbie Gaye in 1956. But Millie’s ska version took off, becoming a number one hit in the UK and a top 10 hit in the US. The song’s catchy melody and playful lyrics – “My boy Lollypop, never ever leave me / Because it would grieve me / My heart told me so” – captured the innocent spirit of young love, making it an instant classic.
As I watch this performance again and again, I’m struck by how effortlessly Millie makes it all seem. She’s not just a singer, she’s a performer, bringing the song to life with every note and movement. And that sense of joy and energy makes this performance so special, even all these years later.
So, I urge you to hit the play button on the video below and experience the magic of Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollypop” for yourself. Share it with your friends and family, and let them feel the joy and energy of this iconic performance. Because, after all, great music is meant to be shared, and this performance is truly one for the ages.