There are not many songs that originated with reggae artists and were subsequently covered for huge international chart success by non-Jamaicans. Perhaps the most outstanding example, however, is "The Tide Is High," known to most of the world as a #1 hit for Blondie in 1980. The original version, however, had in fact been cut back in 1968 by the Paragons, and written by the group's John Holt. In its original form, "The Tide Is High" was an excellent slice of romantic rock-steady, with backing by some of early reggae's best musicians (Tommy McCook & the Supersonics Band). In addition to having the trademark early rock-steady rhythm of a slightly slowed-down ska, "The Tide Is High" had an infectious, playfully exuberant melody, with gently rising chords that were again characteristic of reggae music of the era. Instrumentally, the most distinguishing feature of the track was a shaky violin, heard most prominently in the opening instrumental intro and the instrumental break. A funky vamping guitar provided more conventionally earthy grounding, though, unleashing economic bursts of descending blue notes in the instrumental break. Another seductive aspect of "The Tide Is High" is its un-corny exclamation of commitment, the group declaring their intentions to be the woman's "#1" and noting that they're not the kind of men who give up just like that. Like most early reggae singles, the Paragons' version was heard by few in the United States, and most listeners hearing "The Tide Is High" for the first time by Blondie understandably did not suspect it was a cover. Small cliques of reggae purists no doubt consider Blondie's interpretation a desecration. But it was in fact one of the more memorable hit singles of the early 1980s, smoothing over the reggae rhythms of course, but still retaining some reggae feel. More importantly, Deborah Harry's lead vocal gave the song a female sensuality not present in the Paragons' version.