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John Holt dies in London hospital aged 69

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Jamaican singer John Holt has died in a London hospital at age of 69.

The reggae vocalist’s manager Copeland Forbes told the Jamaica Observer John Holt died on Sunday, October 19. The cause of death has yet to be confirmed.

John 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.

John Holt rose to fame in the 1960s as the lead singer of The Paragons

John Holt rose to fame in the 1960s as the lead singer of The Paragons

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.”


Born in 1947 in Kingston, Jamaica, John 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 Tide is High was popular in Jamaica, it only went mainstream when Blondie topped the charts on both side of the Atlantic with their version in 1980.

It went on to be covered by a number of other artists including Atomic Kitten, Maxi Priest and Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall.

As a solo artist, John Holt’s 1972 track Stick By Me was the biggest-selling Jamaican record of the year.

John Holt went on to release almost 40 albums over his career, mostly through Trojan Records.

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