High Tide, although they never managed much commercial success, are sometimes credited as one of the first heavy metal bands. The sound on their two historical album can be likened to Blue Cheer or Steppenwolf (but with lengthy improvisations in some tracks). They are also cited as a notable precursor of Prog Metal.
The original line-up was a quartet consisting of a singing guitarist, a violinist sometimes playing keyboards and a rhythm section. After the second album’s release, their drummer left for health reasons, and High Tide did not release another album for some 18 years although they continued recording fairly regularly with an unstable line-up, the only mainstay being Tony Hill. Starting in 1988, they released seven records in a span of three yearts, consisting of tracks from the intervening years appearing on different records and no clear recording dates given.
A group that may have been too clever by half to succeed in England, High Tide never received more than a minimal amount of acceptance in their own country, but found a cult audience on the European continent. Formed in 1969, they played progressive rock with some folk and pop influences. Tony Hill was the singer and guitarist, Simon House played violin and keyboards, Peter Pavli handled the bass, and Roger Hadden played the drums. They were signed to Liberty Records’ U.K. division in 1969 and released two albums over the next year — Sea Shanties and a self-titled second album High Tide — both of which featured dazzling guitar work by Hill and occasional striking interplay between his instrument and House’s violin. The group never really found an audience however, splitting up in 1970. Simon House later became a member of Hawkwind, played with David Bowie, and joined members of the Third Ear Band to perform on the soundtrack of Roman Polanski’s movie Macbeth.