Legendary Jamaican vocalist John Holt is dead

Reggae vocalist John Holt, who sang the original version of Blondie’s hit The Tide is High, has died aged 67.

His manager Copeland Forbes told the Jamaica Observer he died in a London hospital on Sunday. The cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

Holt rose to fame in the 1960s as the lead singer of The Paragons, writing and releasing The Tide is High in 1967.

He went solo in 1970 and went on to become one of the biggest stars of reggae music in Jamaica.

Musicians paying tribute to the singer have included Jamaican rapper Shaggy, who tweeted: “We have lost a legend. Very instrumental part of our reggae history! You’ll be missed.”

Fellow Jamaican artist Sean Paul said: “RIP Sir John Holt. You have served your culture well. I salute you.”

UB40 added that Holt was a “massive inspiration and will be sorely missed”.

‘Huge talent’

Born in 1947 in Kingston, Jamaica, Holt penned a number of The Paragons’ hits including Tonight, I See Your Face and Ali Baba as well as The Tide is High.

Although the track was popular in Jamaica, it only went mainstream when US band Blondie topped the charts on both side of the Atlantic with their version in 1980.

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