How Lighthouse Family made High: "It was the most difficult of them all"

Lighthouse Family's Paul Tucker reveals how he came up with the band's biggest hit from 1998.

Lighthouse Family songwriter and keyboardist Paul Tucker tell us below the story behind their signature hit High, a Top 5 hit in 1998.

High was probably the most difficult song to write of all of them. Without getting too heavy, my wife lost a baby on New Years Eve in 1996, the year that the album [Ocean Drive] was a hit. Lifted was a hit and Ocean Drive was a hit.

It was the first week in 1997 I started writing High, and I had the bit: 'One day we’re gonna get so high'. That was the same week – and this is absolutely incidental, it’s nothing to do with the song - although a Newcastle United fan might think it is – that Kevin Keegan left Newcastle United. I just remember that week so well because of what happened.

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It took about eight months to write the song. When we did Ocean Drive there was no pressure, we hadn’t sold any records so nobody was expecting anything, whereas when we got to the second album which is what this was, there were a lot of people who were saying, 'this is huge, this is massive, this is the hit on the record.' And I hadn’t even finished writing it, so immediately I’m under this enormous pressure.

We started recording Postcards From Heaven [album] in March 1997 and we went to Miramont in France to start recording it. We were there until about June and the whole time I was sitting in the room on my own with a blank sheet of paper trying to write High and driving myself mad with it. Everybody kept saying 'have you done it yet?' and I hadn’t.

Then they took the recording back to London and SARM West, which is Trevor Horn’s studio in Notting Hill, and we took the album back there to record the second batch of songs. The first batch had songs like Raincloud in it, while the second was songs like Sun In The Night and High. We recorded the backing tracks for all that stuff, we got the tunes together, we had the top, they had Tunde's vocals.

But before we went back to London, I spent a few weeks in Nice on my own to finish High - I have to be on my own to write lyrics – and I just couldn’t get it together. Then I went back to London to work on it in SARM again. By the very last day of recording, we’d recorded all of the stuff on the second album apart from Tunde’s vocals on High. It was the last job to do and I still hadn’t written the lyrics. I still hadn’t written it.

The night before that, I just wrote down what I was thinking, which was, 'when you're close to tears remember someday it'll all be over'. It was how I felt, I just wanted to get this song over and done with. As soon as I’d written that the whole thing came together. It just fell into place. So in truth, High is actually a description of a very uncomfortable situation.

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thierry henon


Amazing song! A piece of art from a great band that had become so underrated over the last few years!!