I've been on a bit of a Blondie kick lately, and in what has turned out to be a cover songs thread at Roy's place, made reference to Blondie's The Tide is High, which is a cover of a song by the The Paragons, one of Jamaica's most popular rocksteady combos:
The song was written and sung by John Holt, who passed away in London on October 19th. Before joining The Paragons, John Holt launched his singing career with the 1963 single Forever I'll Stay:
He followed this single up with Rum Bumpers, a duet with Alton Ellis:
After his stint with the Paragons, Mr Holt had a very successful solo career interpreting the popular songbook in the reggae idiom, scoring a hit with a version of The Temptations' I Want a Love:
In the 1970s, Mr Holt collaborated with producer Tony Ashfield, who added lush production values to Mr Holt's recordings, scoring hits with cover songs such as Help Me Make It Through The Night, written by Kris Kristofferson:
With the rich production values and romantic themes, John Holt paved the way for the lovers' rock subgenre.
After a conversion to Rastafarianism, Mr Holt took on more political themes in his songwriting, with Police in Helicopter addressing a crackdown on marijuana growing in Jamaica:
John Holt had a long, storied career which serves as a beautiful microcosm ofmultiple Jamaican popular musical styles of the late 20th century, ranging from ska to rocksteady to reggae, to lovers' rock. It's fitting that he collapsed onstage during a music festival in August of this year... that is the mark of a true music powerhouse.