Song Lyric Sunday – August 9 2020 – A song with a harmonica

song-lyric-sundayJim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

I had this week’s post all sorted with multiple choices of songs, there are so many to choose from!  Then, on Saturday morning I was listening to BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live, which includes a section where well known people are asked for their ‘Inheritance Tracks’, that is a song that they have inherited, and a song that they would pass on to future generations. It was the turn of Tony Hadley who was the lead singer of Spandau Ballet. The song he would pass on is Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. The song he inherited is now my choice for this week, My Boy Lollipop, recorded in 1964 by Millie Small.

Millie was a very bubbly character and gained international success after this record became a hit when she was only 17. She undertook a world tour but was probably encouraged to spend too much time on the road and suffered ill health for a time. By 1968 her popularity in the UK began to decline but as reggae emerged in 1969 she returned to recording for a brief period before her recording career ended and she stepped away from music.  She later lived in Singapore and New Zealand before returning to London, where she concentrated on writing, painting and raising her daughter.

When My Boy Lollipop was re-released in 1987 to mark Island Records’ 25th anniversary, she gave a rare interview to Thames TV, where she revealed she had, at one point, been penniless and sleeping rough in London.  Millie died on 5 May 2020 from a stroke.

We never get to see just who is playing harmonica on this song. Millie always insisted that it was Rod Stewart but he has always denied it.   It was almost certainly either Pete Hogman or Jimmy Powell, both of The Five Dimensions. Pete Hogman and Five Dimensions guitarist Kenny White both maintain it was Pete Hogman, while Jimmy Powell asserts that it was he who played this solo. We shall never know!

My Boy Lollipop

Millie Small

My boy lollipop
You make my heart go giddy up
You are as sweet as candy
You’re my sugar dandy
Ho, ho, my boy lollipop
Never ever leave me
Because it would grieve me
My heart told me so

I love ya, I love ya, I love ya so
But I wanted you to know
I need ya, I need ya, I need ya so
And I’ll never let you go

My boy lollipop
You make my heart go giddy up
You set my world on fire
You are my one desire
My boy lollipop

I love ya, I love ya, I love ya so
But I wanted you to know
I need ya, I need ya, I need ya so
And I’ll never let you go

My boy lollipop
You make my heart go giddy up
You set my world on fire
You are my one desire
Oh, my boy lollipop
Oh, my boy lollipop
My boy lollipop

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Johnny Roberts / Morris Levy

My Boy Lollipop lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Harmonicas have been used in music for many years. Often they were used to tune guitars prior to pitch pipes or auto tuning. Every young man used to imagine they could easily play one. Many tried, and they were a popular Christmas present which parents often quickly regretted.

You may notice that I said young men – I always imagined it was a boy thing rather than a girl thing. I know, I know, it’s the 21st century. Equal opportunities, sexist comments and all that. So I googled lady harmonica players and boy………………..was I wrong. Here’s just one example, which will lead to many more if you get carried away. I hope you enjoy this tremendous virtuosity.

 

26 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday – August 9 2020 – A song with a harmonica

      1. I love the old stuff, though I think this might have been the 60s, I prefer the fifties and earlier. My oldest brother was 15years older and I think my taste comes from him.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Millie Small has a lovely voice that just makes you want to smile/ I know that my parents threw out several of my wooden harmonicas over the years after they got all nasty looking and I wa never able to hit a note.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember “My Boy Lollipop” which was on an Oldies but Goodies album my mom had when I was growing up. It’s too bad about being broke at one point. Interesting about the controversy over who was playing the harmonica. Thanks for bringing in that female harmonica player. She is really something! Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I must have heard “My Boy Lollipop” a thousand times on the radio but I never saw Millie Small, who was quite cute and had the voice to match.

    A couple more great female harmonicists are Hermine Deurloo and Christelle Berthon. I discovered them around the same time I discovered Indiara Sfair.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember that first song. The 2nd one is awesome. One of my buddies and his wife have a band and she sings and plays harp. I didn’t realize you need a whole set of them and you play the one that’s in the key of the song. Good choices, Peter!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was this close to choosing My Boy Lollipop! Very strong association for me with an awkward event in 6th grade. Decided I couldn’t choose the song without telling the tale, and I’d rather not. So glad this song is represented this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh! What a wonderful song, Peter! Peppy and fun! Thank you for sharing it!

    OOH! I’ve always enjoyed listening to harmonica music! What a great vid!

    Recently, on a music show I saw two young brothers who play harmonica. It was good to see some young people interested in harmonicas! 🙂
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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