My Boy Lollipop was first recorded in 1956 by American singer Barbie Gayle in New York. However, eight years later, a cover version – produced by Chris Blackwell – was done by Jamaican teen Millie Small. Her contribution became one of the top-selling ska songs of all time. With musical embellishment by guitarist Ernest Ranglin, the song went number two in the in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and number one in the Republic of Ireland.
During Jamaica’s Independence celebration in August of this year, Small was conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) for her contribution to Jamaican music.
Similarly, Gabriel — whose real name is Nancy Gordon – expects the song to be a break out hit.
“The first time I sang it, my producer said I sounded too much like Millie Small,” Gabriel told the Observer. “However, by the time we released the track, it is like everyone started calling from all over the world and the emails started to come.”
Gabriel said there is a lot of interest in the song due to Bounty Killer’s input.
“Some people may have issues… some fans may not be excited about it while others may like it. It’s cool and it’s different,” she said.
Bounty Killer is no stranger to collaboration. He has worked with artistes such as Busta Rhymes, The Fugees, Wyclef Jean, Mobb Deep, Capone-N-Noreaga, Swizz Beatz and AZ. However, his 2001 effort with the band No Doubt is his most fruitful. The track Hey Baby peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
Gabriel said the new cover of My Boy Lollipop has several versions.
“We have three mixes. We have the ska mix, we also have a techno-band pop mix and then is also the dancehall mix. He (Bounty) prefers the dancehall mix. So that is the one he decided on and recorded,” the singer said.
“Paris’ Reggae Vybes Magazine just featured us,” Gabriel said. “So the word is getting out.”