The Tide is High Original
American new wave band Blondie released “The Tide is High” in 1980. It was the lead single from Blondie’s fifth studio album Autoamerican, and reached number one in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand. In 2002 British girl group Atomic Kitten released a poppier cover of “The Tide is High”. This version was also a number one hit. But did you know that Blondie’s version is a cover as well? Jamaican DJ Duke Reid composed “The Tide is High” original song back in the 1930s and in 1967 John Holt arranged it for his group The Paragons.
The Tide is Rocksteady
The Paragons were a 1960s rocksteady band from Kingston, Jamaica consisting of John Holt, Tyrone Evans and Howard Barrett. They recorded “The Tide is High” at Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle studio, accompanied by Tommy McCook & The Supersonics. The song featured on the 1967 album On the Beach With The Paragons, which sold well in Jamaica and England.
This original version of “The Tide is High” is smooth and crooning. It makes you feel romantic. There’s a slightly old-timey feeling to the song, which features some nice violin solos.
However, it wasn’t until Blondie’s 1980 reggae-style cover that “The Tide is High” became an international hit. Deborah Harry said in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, “I first heard ‘The Tide Is High’ on a compilation tape that someone had given me while we were in London. Chris (Stein) and I both fell in love with the song and decided it was too good to resist.”
Blondie wanted the song to still sound Jamaican. They hired three percussion players and created a string and horn arrangement to give it a reggae feel. It is this rendering which has made “The Tide is High” instantly recognisable around the world.
Check out these posts for other articles about songs originally recorded by men and then covered by women.