The Tide Is High

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"The Tide Is High"
Single by The Paragons
A-side "Only a Smile"
Released 1967
Genre Rocksteady
Length 2:40
Label Treasure Isle
Writer(s) John Holt

"The Tide Is High" is a 1967 song written by John Holt, originally performed by the Jamaican group The Paragons, with John Holt as lead singer. The song gained international attention in 1980, when a version by the American band Blondie became a US/UK number one hit. The British girl group Atomic Kitten also had a number one hit with their version of the song in 2002, and it was also a hit for Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall in 2008.

The Paragons version[edit]

The song was written by John Holt and originally recorded The Paragons, the rocksteady vocal trio of which he was a member, and accompanied by Tommy McCook and the Suspersonic Band. It was produced by Duke Reid and released as a 7-inch single on Reid's Treasure Isle and Trojan labels and as the B-side of the "Only a Smile" single.[1]

The song features the violin of "White Rum" Raymond,[2] and was popular in Jamaica and became popular amongst West Indians and skinheads in the UK when a deejay version by U-Roy was released in 1971. Both tracks from the single were included on the 1970 collection On the Beach.

Tracklist[edit]

  1. "Only a Smile"
  2. "The Tide Is High" – 2:53

Gregory Isaacs version[edit]

The song was released as a single in 1978 by Gregory Isaacs; this version was produced by "Prince" Tony Robinson. It was released on the State Line label in the US, on Isaacs' own African Museum label in Jamaica, and on the Front Line label in Jamaica as a 12-inch discomix featuring a new deejay version by U-Roy.[1]

Tracklist[edit]

  1. "The Tide Is High" (Gregory Isaacs/U Roy)
  2. "Step It Out a Yard"

Blondie version[edit]

"The Tide Is High"
Single by Blondie
from the album Autoamerican
B-side "Suzy & Jeffrey"
Released October 1980
Format 7" single
Recorded 1980
Genre Reggae[3]
Length 4:39
Label Chrysalis
Writer(s) John Holt
Producer(s) Mike Chapman
Certification See Certifications
Blondie singles chronology
"Atomic"
(1980)
"The Tide Is High"
(1980)
"Rapture"
(1981)
Music sample

"The Tide Is High" was covered by the American new wave band Blondie in 1980, in a reggae style that included horns and strings. It was released as the lead single from the band's fifth studio album, Autoamerican (1980). It was Blondie's third number one smash on the Billboard Hot 100 and their fifth in the UK. It also went on to reach the top three of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, and was popular throughout the world, reaching no. 4 in Australia, and no. 15 in Germany. It was the last UK number one single for the band until "Maria" in 1999. The B-side of "The Tide Is High" was "Suzie and Jeffrey", which appeared as a bonus track on the original 1980 cassette edition of the album Autoamerican and was also included on EMI-Capitol's re-issue of Autoamerican in 2001.

Versions[edit]

Official remixes of the Blondie version have been issued twice. First by Coldcut in 1988 on the Blondie/Debbie Harry remix compilation Once More into the Bleach and the second time in 1995 by Pete Arden and Vinny Vero on the album Remixed Remade Remodeled: The Remix Project (UK edition: Beautiful: The Remix Album).

Blondie re-recorded the song for the 2014 compilation album Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux. The compilation was part of a 2-disc set called Blondie 4(0) Ever which included their 10th studio album Ghosts of Download and marked the 40th anniversary of the forming of the band.

Music video[edit]

A music video was produced, directed by Hart Perry. It depicts the band waiting out on the street for singer Debbie Harry, who appears to be trapped in a flooding apartment. All the while, she is being monitored from outer space by what appears to be a Darth Vader-like alien being. She soon reunites with the band on the street and they drive to a rocket launch and fly into space. They then crash into the spaceship or space station. Harry confronts the alien being and begins dancing with him.

Accolades[edit]

Year Publisher Country Accolade Rank
1981 Dave Marsh & James Bernard United States "Singles Of The Year 1980"[4] 21
2003 Giannis Petridis Greece "2004 of the Best Songs of the Century"[5] *
2003 NME United Kingdom "117 Songs To Soundtrack Your Summer"[6] *
2003 Paul Morley United Kingdom "Greatest Pop Single of All Time"[7] *
2005 Bruce Pollock United States "The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000"[5] *
2005 Toby Creswell Australia "1001 Songs"[5] *

(*) indicates the list is unordered.

Track listings[edit]

7"

  1. "The Tide Is High" (7" Edit) – 3:54
  2. "Suzy & Jeffrey" – 4:09

US 7" (Chrysalis Classics Re-Issue)

  1. "The Tide Is High" (7" Edit) – 3:54
  2. "Rapture" – 4:59

US 7" (promo only)

  1. "The Tide Is High" (7" Edit) – 3:54
  2. "The Tide Is High" (7" Edit) – 3:54

US 7" (Collectables Record Corp. COL 6115)

  1. "The Tide Is High"
  2. "Heart of Glass"

Charts and certifications[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"You're Too Late" by Fantasy
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single (with "Rapture")
28 February 1981 – 21 March 1981 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Breaking and Entering" / "Easy Money" by Dee Dee Sharp-Gamble
Preceded by
"Woman in Love" by Barbra Streisand
UK Singles Chart number-one single
15 November 1980 – 22 November 1980 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Super Trouper" by ABBA
Preceded by
"(Just Like) Starting Over" by John Lennon
Canadian RPM number-one single
7 February 1981 – 28 February 1981 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Best of Times" by Styx
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
31 January 1981 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Celebration" by Kool & the Gang
US Cash Box number-one single
31 January 1981 – 7 February 1981 (2 weeks)
Preceded by
"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" by The Police
Canadian CHUM number-one single
17 January 1981 – 24 January 1981 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Passion" by Rod Stewart
Preceded by
"Shaddap You Face" by Joe Dolce
New Zealand number-one single
13 February 1981 – 20 February 1981
Succeeded by
"Woman" by John Lennon

Papa Dee version[edit]

"The Tide Is High"
Single by Papa Dee
from the album The Journey
Released 23 June 1996
Format CD
Genre Dancehall
Length 3:55
Label WEA
Papa Dee singles chronology
"The First Cut Is the Deepest"
(1995)
"The Tide Is High"
(1996)

In 1996, Papa Dee covered the song on his album The Journey. It was released only as a CD single and the bonus track is a mix of "Funky Raggamuffin"/"Let the Music Play".

Track listings[edit]

CD Single

  1. "The Tide Is High" – 3:55
  2. "Funky Raggamuffin/Let the Music Play" – 5:01

Charts[edit]

Charts (1996) Peak
position
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[37] 20
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[38] 44

Atomic Kitten version[edit]

"The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)"
Single by Atomic Kitten
from the album Feels So Good
B-side "Dancing in the Street"
Released 26 August 2002
Format
Recorded 2002
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:26
Label Virgin
Producer(s)
Atomic Kitten singles chronology
"It's OK!"
(2001)
"The Tide Is High"
(2002)
"Be with You"
(2002)

In 2002, "The Tide Is High" was covered by English girl group Atomic Kitten, and was released as the second single from their second studio album, Feels So Good (2002). Their version of the song also added a new bridge, hence the subtitle "Get the Feeling". The full song was played during the opening credits of The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and was also used for a TV commercial featuring Japanese beer company, Asahi Breweries. This was the group's third and final number-one single. The Atomic Kitten version was selected by The Daily Telegraph writer David Cheal as one of his "Top five awful cover versions" in 2002, describing it as "a ghastly, sickly confection that has none of the wistfulness or soulfulness of either Blondie's version or the Paragons' original".[39]

The group performed this for the first time ever with the original line-up for their 2012 reformation on The Big Reunion with Kerry Katona performing Frost's vocals.

Spanish version[edit]

Atomic Kitten also recorded a Spanish version of the single, titled "Ser tu pasión". It was released in Colombia, Mexico and Spain, but failed to chart. However, the song promoted Atomic Kitten's second studio album Feels So Good in Mexico, and as a result, the album peaked at number 69 on the albums chart; it was also included on the Spanish version of Atomic Kitten's Greatest Hits album.

Music video[edit]

The music video is invariably Atomic Kitten's most famous music video due to the fact of band member Natasha Hamilton being heavily pregnant in the video. The music video begins with the group walking up to the screen. A flashing rainbow can be seen in the background, behind the scenes shots are behind a green screen. Whenever the chorus of the song is on, a dance accompanies it. Hamilton, Liz McClarnon and Jenny Frost do a simplistic dance that they also did during live performances. Whilst they dance, four men are also dancing alongside the group with slightly different moves—they also accompanied the live performances. Behind them is a sign that says "Atomic" that flashes throughout the music video and on clips on the behind the scenes version shows one girl dancing and three girls dancing. Each of the group has a different set for their solo. Liz's is next to a silver tree, with a purple background with a repeating pattern of the same tree that she is dancing next to. Jenny's is next to a car and Natasha's is in a pink room with number 1 signs. It also show the shots of three Atomic Kitten girls dancing near fluorescent purple lights during the bridge section of the song.

Track listings[edit]

UK CD1 (Green)

  1. "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" (Radio Mix) – 3:28
  2. "Album Medley" – 5:10
  3. "Dancing In The Street" – 3:39
  4. "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" (Video)

UK CD2 (Red)

  1. "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" (Radio Mix) – 3:28
  2. "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" (Groove Brothers 12" Remix) – 5:27
  3. "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" (Lasgo Remix) – 5:40

UK Cassette

  1. "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" (Radio Mix) – 3:28
  2. "Album Medley" – 5:10
  3. "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" (Groove Brothers Edit) – 3:20

Official versions[edit]

  • The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) – 3:27
  • The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) (Version en español 'Ser tu pasión eres mi obsesión') – 3:27
  • The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) (Groove Brothers Radio Edit) – 3:23
  • The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) (Groove Brothers 12" Mix) – 5:37
  • The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) (Lasgo Remix) – 5:41

Chart performance[edit]

The song did extremely well in the charts, managing to sell over 1.5 million copies worldwide. The single peaked at no. 3 in the European charts, and no. 6 in the worldwide singles chart. It became their second best charting and selling single of their career. In the United Kingdom, the single sold 145,000 copies in its first week and topped the charts for three simultaneous weeks. It was eventually certified Gold and sold over 410,000 copies in the UK. In Oceania, the song did particularly well. It went platinum in both New Zealand, and Australia, selling approximately 150,000 copies over there. It spent twelve weeks in the Australian top ten, four of which were at no. 4—its peak position. This was better than "Whole Again", which only spent ten weeks in the top 10. "The Tide Is High" was also a Christmas hit over there.

In New Zealand, the song spent four weeks at no. 1, and three weeks at no. 2. The song also spent four weeks at no. 1 in Ireland. In Germany, the single debuted at no. 8. In its next week, it peaked at no. 3 on the chart becoming their second highest charting single over there, where it stayed for 2 weeks. It managed to stay in the top 10 for five weeks. It sold over 100,000 copies. In the rest of German-speaking Europe, it also peaked at no. 3 in Austria for two simultaneous weeks. In Switzerland, it peaked at number 4 and spent four weeks in the top 10. The song did exceptionally well all over Europe, becoming a top 20 hit everywhere—except for Italy, where it peaked at no. 30, and France, where it only managed to peak at no. 42. Atomic Kitten's only single or album to get anywhere into the top 20 in France was "Eternal Flame", making them one-hit wonders over there. "The Tide Is High" was also a huge success in Asia, becoming the "Best British Single" of 2002.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"Like a Prayer" by Mad'House
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
29 August 2002 – 19 September 2002 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Complicated" by Avril Lavigne
Preceded by
"Complicated" by Avril Lavigne
New Zealand number-one single
20 October 2002 – 10 November 2002 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" by Las Ketchup
Preceded by
"Crossroads" by Blazin' Squad
UK Singles Chart number-one single
7 September 2002 – 21 September 2002 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Just Like a Pill" by Pink

Kardinal Offishall version[edit]

"Numba 1 (Tide Is High)"
Single by Kardinal Offishall featuring Keri Hilson
from the album Not 4 Sale
B-side "Nina"
Released
  • September 2008 (Radio)
  • 14 October 2008 (iTunes)
Format
Recorded 2008
Genre
Length 3:42
Label Kon Live/Geffen/Black Jays
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Supa Dups
Certification Gold (CRIA)[72]
Kardinal Offishall singles chronology
"Set It Off"
(2008)
"Numba 1 (Tide Is High)"
(2008)
"Beautiful"
(2009)
Keri Hilson chronology
"Return the Favor"
(2008)
"Numba 1 (Tide Is High)"
(2008)
"Turnin' Me On"
(2008)

"Numba 1 (Tide Is High)" is a 2008 version of "The Tide Is High", performed by Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall featuring Keri Hilson. Produced by Supa Dups, the song – a percussive, dancehall-infused hip hop update – was released in September 2008 as the fourth single from his fourth album Not 4 Sale.[73] It was released on iTunes on 14 October. In March 2010, the single was certified Gold by the CRIA.[72]

Aside from the album version, which features Rihanna, there are three other versions of "Numba 1 (Tide Is High)". The second is the original version, featuring Nicole Scherzinger. A third version features Rihanna and Nicole Scherzinger. The fourth version is the official single and features Keri Hilson. There is also a mash-up version which features Rihanna, Nicole Scherzinger and Keri Hilson.

The music video premiered on 24 October 2008 at Yahoo! Music.[74] It was directed by Gil Green, and Akon makes a cameo appearance.[75] The song "Nina" is featured at the end of the video.

Tracklist[edit]

12" single

  1. "Numba 1 (Tide Is High)" (Radio Version) – 3:41
  2. "Numba 1 (Tide Is High)" (Instrumental) – 3:41

7" single

  1. "Numba 1 (Tide Is High)"
  2. "Nina"

Remixes[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2008–09) Peak
position
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[77] 38
Canada (Hot Canadian Digital Singles)1[78] 32
Germany (Deutsche Black Charts)1[79] 1
Israel (Airplay Chart)[80] 7
Turkey (Türkiye Top 20)[81] 4
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[82] 84

1Rihanna and Nicole Scherzinger versions

References[edit]

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External links[edit]