"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 went mainly unnoticed in the rest of the world, until it was rediscovered in 1980, when it became a US/UK number one hit for the American band Blondie. The British girl groupAtomic Kitten also had a no. 1 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 source | editbeta]Edit

The song was written by John Holt and originally recorded by The Paragons, the vocal trio of which he was a member. 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 source | editbeta]Edit

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

Gregory Isaacs version[edit source | editbeta]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 source | editbeta]Edit

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

Blondie version[edit source | editbeta]Edit

"The Tide Is High"
Single by Blondie
from the album Autoamerican
B-side "Suzy & Jeffrey"
Released November 1980 (UK)[3]

October, 1980 (US)

Format 7"
Recorded 1980
Genre Reggae
Length 4:39 (album version)

3:55 (edit)

Label Chrysalis Records
Writer(s) John Holt, Howard Barrett, Tyrone Evans
Producer Mike Chapman
Certification Gold (US)
Blondie singles chronology


"The Tide Is High"




Music sample
The Tide Is High   0:00 

"The Tide Is High" was covered by US new wave band Blondie in 1980, in a reggae/ska style that included horns and strings. It was released as the first single, and appeared on the band's fifth album, Autoamerican. It was Blondie's third number one smash on the Billboard Hot 100. It also went on to reach the Top Three of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, and was popular throughout the world, reaching number one on the UK singles chart, number four in Australia, and number fifteen in West Germany.[4] 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.

A music video was produced, directed by Hart Perry. It depicts the band waiting out on the street for Debbie, who appears to be trapped in a flooding apartment. All the while, she is being monitored from outer space by what appears to be Darth Vader. She soon escapes the apartment (it is not shown how she got out) and reunites with the boys. They drive to a rocket launch and fly into space. They then crash into the spaceship or space station. Debbie confronts the Darth Vader alien. He turns around and she is quite amused to find he doesn't look a bit Darth Vader, although she decides he does make a good dancing partner.

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).

In November 1980, the song was played on radio stations across the state of Alabama in anticipation of a football game between the University of Alabama, whose nickname is the Crimson Tide, and the University of Notre Dame.

In 1981, Swedish singer Siw Inger recorded a German language version of the song. Although the lyrics are not a direct translation, the vocal and instrumental arrangements are virtually identical.

In 1984, Nigerian singer Onyeka Onwenu covered the song for the album In the Morning Light. A year later, parts of this song were taken and used as a sample forBryan Adams' "Reggae Christmas".

Track listings[edit source | editbeta]Edit


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

7" 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[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Chart (1980-1981) Peak


Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[5] 6
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6] 4
Canadian RPM Top Singles[7] 1
France (SNEP)[8] 31
Germany (Media Control AG)[9] 15
Irish Singles Chart[10] 2
Italy (FIMI)[11] 22
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[12] 4
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[13] 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 1 Gold
Norway (VG-lista)[15] 7
South African Chart[16] 5
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[17] 19
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[18] 5
UK (Official Charts Company)[19] 1 Gold[20]
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[21] 1 Gold
U.S. BillboardHot Adult Contemporary[21] 3 Gold
U.S. BillboardHot Dance Club Play[21] 1
Preceded by

"Woman in Love" by Barbra Streisand

UK Singles Chart number-one single (Blondie version)

15 November 1980 – 22 November 1980

Succeeded by

"Super Trouper" by ABBA

Preceded by

"(Just Like) Starting Over" by John Lennon

Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Blondie version)

31 January 1981

Succeeded by

"Celebration" by Kool & the Gang

Preceded by

"Shaddap Your Face" by Joe Dolce

New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single (Blondie version)

13 February 1981 – 20 February 1981

Succeeded by

"Woman" by John Lennon

Preceded by

"You're Too Late" by Fantasy

Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single (with "Rapture")

28 February 1981 – 21 March 1981

Succeeded by

"Breaking and Entering" / "Easy Money" by Dee Dee Sharp-Gamble

Papa Dee version[edit source | editbeta]Edit

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


"The Tide Is High"


In 1996, Papa Dee covered the song on his album The Journey. Unlike the original, this version is very dancehall-heavy and includes influences from the rap scene. 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 source | editbeta]Edit

CD Single

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

Charts[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Charts (1996) Peak


Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[22] 20
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 44

Billie Piper version[edit source | editbeta]Edit

In 2000, "The Tide Is High" was covered by singer-turned-actress Billie Piper for her second album, Walk of Life. It was due for release in early 2001. However, according to Piper's autobiography, Growing Pains, she told Virgin Records (her record label) not to bother releasing "The Tide Is High" as a single because she was worn out and didn't want to sing anymore after appearing in court against a woman named Juliet Peters who had given Piper, her friends and her family numerous death threats. It's producers, Padley and Godfrey reworked their production of the track for the Atomic Kitten version.

Atomic Kitten version[edit source | editbeta]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 CD singleCassette
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:26
Label Virgin
Producer Bill PadleyJem Godfrey
Certification Platinum (RIANZ)
Atomic Kitten singles chronology
"It's OK!"


"The Tide Is High"


"Be with You"


"The Tide Is High" was covered by girl group Atomic Kitten, and was released as the second single from their second studio album, Feels So Good. This time, the song was remade with keyboards to make it more pop-oriented. 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 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".[24]

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 source | editbeta]Edit

Atomic Kitten also recorded a Spanish version of the single, titled "Ser Tu Pasion". 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 #69 on the albums chart; it was also included on the Spanish version of Atomic Kitten's Greatest Hits album.

Music video[edit source | editbeta]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. 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 1 girl dancing and 3 girls dancing. The dance that accompanies the music video has become extremely famous. 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 3 Atomic Kitten girls dancing near fluorescent purple lights during the bridge section of the song.

Track listings[edit source | editbeta]Edit


  1. "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" (Radio Mix) - 3:28
  2. "Album Medley" (It's OK, Love Won't Wait, Feels So Good, Walking On The Water, So Hot, The Way That You Are, The Last Goodbye and Love Doesn't Have To Hurt) - 5:10
  3. "Dancing In The Street" - 3:39
  4. "The Tide Is High (Get the Feeling)" (Video)


  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 Radio Edit) - 3:20

Official Versions[edit source | editbeta]Edit

  • The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) - 3:27
  • The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling) (Version En Español 'Ser Tu Pasion, Eres Mi Obsesion') - 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 source | editbeta]Edit

The song did extremely well in the charts, managing to sell over 1.5 million copies worldwide. The single peaked at #3 in the European charts, and #6 in the worldwide singles chart.[25] It became their second best charting and selling single of their career. In the United Kingdom, the single sold 145,000 copied in its first week, and topped the charts for 3 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 #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 #1, and three weeks at #2. The song also spent four weeks at #1 in Ireland. In Germany, the single debuted at #8. In its next week, it peaked at #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 #3 in Austria for two simultaneous weeks, and in Switzerland, it peaked at #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 #30, and France, where it only managed to peak at #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 source | editbeta]Edit

Charts[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Chart (2002-2003) Peak


Australia (ARIA)[26] 4
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[27] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[28] 5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[29] 33
Denmark (Tracklisten)[30] 10
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[31] 3
France (SNEP)[32] 42
Germany (Media Control AG)[33] 3
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[34] 4
Ireland (IRMA)[35] 1
Italy (FIMI)[36] 30
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[37] 2
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[38] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[39] 11
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[40] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[41] 4
Turkey (Turkish Singles Chart)[42] 4
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 1

Certifications[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Country Certification Sales
Australia Platinum[43] 70,000+
New Zealand Platinum[44] 15,000+
United Kingdom Gold[45] 446,802

Year-end charts[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Country Chart Ranking
United Kingdom 2002 UK Year-end-singles 13[46]
Ireland 2002 Irish Year-end-singles 15[47]
Australia 2002 Australian Year-end-singles 32[48]
2003 Australian Year-end-singles 38[49]
New Zealand 2002 NZ Year-end-singles 38[50]
Belgium (Flanders) 2002 Belgium Year-end-singles 41[51]
Austria 2002 Austrian Year-end-singles 43[52]
Switzerland 2002 Swiss Year-end-singles 61[53]
Preceded by

"Like a Prayer" by MadHouse

Irish Singles Chart number-one single

31 August 2002 – 21 September 2002

Succeeded by

"Complicated" by Avril Lavigne

Preceded by

"Tha Crossroads" by Blazin' Squad

UK Singles Chart number-one single

1 September 2002 – 21 September 2002

Succeeded by

"Just Like a Pill" by Pink

Preceded by

"Complicated" by Avril Lavigne

New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart number-one single

20 October 2002 – 10 November 2002

Succeeded by

"The Ketchup Song (Asereje)" by Las Ketchup

Kardinal Offishall version[edit source | editbeta]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 Digital downloadCD single12" single7" single
Recorded 2008
Genre Canadian hip hopdancehall
Length 3:42
Label Kon Live/Geffen/Black Jays
Writer(s) J. HarrowD. Chin-QueeJ. Holt
Producer Supa Dups
Certification Gold (CRIA)[54]
Kardinal Offishall singles chronology
"Set It Off"


"Numba 1 (Tide Is High)"




Keri Hilson chronology
"Return the Favor"


"Numba 1 (Tide Is High)"


"Turnin' Me On"


"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.[55] It was released oniTunes on 14 October. In March 2010, the single was certified Gold by the CRIA.[54]

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.[56] It was directed by Gil Green, and Akon makes a cameo appearance.[57] The song "Nina" is featured at the end of the video.

Tracklist[edit source | editbeta]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 source | editbeta]Edit

Charts[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Chart Peak


Canadian Hot 100[59] 38
Hot Canadian Digital Singles[60]1 32
German Black Charts[61]1 1
Israeli Airplay Chart[62] 7
Turkey Top 20 Chart[63] 5
UK R&B Chart 29
UK Singles Chart[64] 84

Rihanna and Nicole Scherzinger versions1

Other covers[edit source | editbeta]Edit

  • In 1975, the song was covered by Johnny Clarke on his album Moving Out
  • In 1980, the song was covered by Top of the Poppers
  • In 1981, a German version, "Die Zeit ist reif", was covered by Siw Inger
  • In 1995, the song was covered by Sinitta
  • In 1996, a Spanish version, "La numero uno", was covered by Nydia Rojas
  • In 1997, the song was covered by singer Angelina Camarillo
  • In 1998, the song was covered by boyband Take 5
  • In 2001, the song was covered by Seeed
  • In 2006, the song was covered by The Selecter
  • In 2011, the song was covered by Andres Calamaro
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