I think you may have heard wrong. The pass rate for Higher English this year was 64%. However, the cut-off mark for an A last year was 64% and for a Band 1 you needed 71%.
It has never been >60% for a C though.
Surprisingly this year, more people generally did better in the Critical Essays than on the Close Reading. The former regarded as being too hard (due to poetry questions), while the latter was commented on as being 'too easy' - doesn't seem true then.