Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time


Welcome back to THE POSITIVE SPIN. With so much negativity constantly swirling around us, we need to focus on the things that bring happiness & positivity into our lives. Other than my wife, my cat & my family, nothing is more important or makes me happier than music…and I love sharing my joy of music with others who feel the same way. If you’ve followed this blog over the past decade, or even if you just stopped by from time to time, you may have noticed that I always (as the old song goes) accentuate the positive & eliminate the negative in my posts. Even when I wrote about the weakest album in an artist’s discography I always sought…and found…something worthwhile. I hope this can be an ongoing conversation with my fellow music lovers, and together we can spread musical positivity. Please let me know what other musical subjects could use a positive spin. Ultimately THE POSITIVE SPIN will become a podcast (when I find the time and figure out the technical aspects) and then we can take these discussions to another level.

Many people struggle to get through their day, and the pandemic has only made that worse, but music is often a great motivator to simply “hold on.” Wilson Phillips’ #1 single from 1990 might be the best-known song with that title, but for me it’s the great Canadian melodic hard rock trio Triumph whose 1979 “Hold On” was the impetus for this post. I discovered them a year after it was released, and they quickly became one of my favorite bands. Singer/guitarist Rik Emmett wrote some of the most uplifting lyrics I’ve ever heard, and paired it with music that builds to a rousing climax. The song is so inspiring that it makes Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” sound like a funeral dirge (perhaps a slight exaggeration). I’ve also loved two other recordings with that title since they were released in the ’80s, from Yes and Kansas, but it wasn’t just rock bands imploring us to hold on. As you’ll hear below, soul legend Sam Cooke, John Lennon, Tom Waits and a couple of other great artists gifted us with their own spin on that title. I could have included songs with titles like “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” “Hold On Loosely,” “Baby Hold On,” “Hold On Tight,” “Holding On,” etc., but the eight tracks highlighted here merely scratch the surface. So for the first time I’ve created a Spotify playlist with other “Hold On” recordings that I love, which you’ll find at the bottom of this post. Many of them are not necessarily uplifting, either musically or lyrically, but they have their own unique charms and share that memorable two-word title.


Album/Year: JUST A GAME (1979)
Key Lyrics:
Hold on, hold on to your dreams
Hold on, even though it seems
Everyone around you has their little schemes
Listen to your heart and hold on to your dreams

Caught up in routine, you got to break it
Time won’t wait for us, we got to make it
Fate gives you the chance, you’ve got to take it


Artist: YES
Album/Year: 90125 (1983)
Key Lyrics:
Hold on, Hold on, Sunshine shine on through
Hold on, Hold on, Sunshine shine on you

Round and round and round, we living in gravity
Shake, we shake so hard, how we laugh so loud
When we reach we believe in eternity


Artist: KANSAS
Album/Year: AUDIO-VISIONS (1980)
Key Lyrics:
Hold on, baby hold on
‘Cause it’s closer than you think and you’re standing on the brink
Hold on, baby hold on
‘Cause there’s something on the way, your tomorrow’s not the same as today

No hesitation and no holding back
Let it all go and you’ll know, you’re on the right track


Album/Year: N/A (1961)
Key Lyrics:
Hold on just a little bit longer
Keep the faith and let your love be stronger
Hold on, like you promised to
‘Cause I’ll be coming back to you


Album/Year: SINGLE (1967)
Key Lyrics:
I’ll hold on until the end
Hold on as long as I can


Album/Year: PLASTIC ONO BAND (1970)
Key Lyrics:
Hold on world, world hold on
It’s going to be alright
You’re going to see the light

When you’re by yourself and there’s no one else
You just have yourself and you tell yourself
Just to hold on


Album/Year: CRACK THE SKY (1975)
Key Lyrics:
You’re doing fine, you know
You’ve got an okay mind, you know
And I would hate to see you throw it away
You’d better hold on. Hold on. Hold on.


Album/Year: MULE VARIATIONS (1999)
Key Lyrics:
She closed her eyes and started swaying
But it’s so hard to dance that way
When it’s cold and there’s no music
Oh, your old hometown’s so far away
But inside your head there’s a record that’s playing
A song called “Hold On”, hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on
Take my hand, I’m standing right there, you gotta hold on


What music helps you to hold on through tough times? And did I miss any “Hold On” songs that you love? Maybe you’ll find them in this Spotify playlist.

30 comments on “THE POSITIVE SPIN – Hold On

  1. Aphoristical
    October 3, 2020

    No Wilson Phillips?


    • I did mention them but it’s not a song that does much for me, and I don’t own that album. I wanted to share the “Hold On” songs that I love which are in my collection.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. the press music reviews
    October 3, 2020

    Great stuff, this gave me a lift. A lot of good numbers here from great artists. Nice angle, and a good accompaniment to your It’s Getting Better good read. thanks!


    • Thanks. I’m really pleased that this post gave you a lift. Mission accomplished. Still deciding where I want to take “The Positive Spin” going forward but, as I’ve almost always done here, I’ll figure it out as I go along.


  3. Vinyl Connection
    October 3, 2020

    Terrific, Rich.
    Steve Winwood could get a guernsey too, with “Holding On” from Roll With It and, one of my favourites, “Hold On” from his self-titled 1977 album.


    • Thanks for the feedback, Bruce. That earlier Winwood song was included in my Spotify playlist. It’s a good one but didn’t quite fit the theme of this post, other than its title of course. I’m surprised you would even give Roll With It a mention. It seems way too mainstream for you. I haven’t played that record in years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vinyl Connection
        October 5, 2020

        Ah, I’ve been a Winwood fan me whole life, Rich. The momentum of love carried me through the shiny pop years! 🙂


      • That makes sense. I’ve been a Winwood fan for about 4 decades but I didn’t enjoy that album very much. Not because he “sold out” or it was “too poppy,” but because the songs just didn’t do it for me. I do remember really liking its follow-up, especially the song “I Will Be Here.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. christiansmusicmusings
    October 3, 2020

    Frankly, I didn’t realize how many songs titled “Hold On” exist. I guess I never thought about it.

    I think I’m most intrigued by the Triumph tune. It’s got a great sound. In terms of the composition, it reminds me a bit of Boston. I could totally picture it with Tom Scholz harmony type guitars.


    • Hi Christian. Every time I’ve heard another song called “Hold On” over the years I’ve made a mental note that it’s a strange title to appear so often. I’m happy I finally found an excuse to post about it. Glad you enjoyed the Triumph song. I agree about the Boston comparison. Good call. One of the amazing things about Triumph is that they had two distinct lead singers, including their drummer, Gil Moore. Rik Emmett is a rare talent who can sing AND play guitar with the best of them. Comparing them to other similar late-’70s/early-’80s artists, he’s one person filling the rolls of Brad Delp/Tom Scholz, Steve Perry/Neal Schon, Lou Gramm/Mick Jones or Bobby Kimball/Steve Lukather. Unfortunately they never had that one across-the-board smash hit which would have made them a household name.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Neil
    October 4, 2020

    Much needed thank you.


  6. 80smetalman
    October 4, 2020

    Lots of inspiring songs there Rich. May I suggest one more, “Hold On Loosely” from .38 Special.


    • I agree that “Hold On Loosely” is an amazing song, and I even referenced it in this post. But since I decided to stick to songs simply titled “Hold On” I couldn’t include it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 80smetalman
        October 5, 2020

        I saw you had which was why I was rather surprised not to see it in the song list. But I understand your logic for not including it.


      • Perhaps a follow-up post sometime down the road for other “Hold On”-related songs. That one would be at or near the top of the list.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 80smetalman
        October 5, 2020

        I would love to read that post.


      • Thanks…but you’ll have to “hold on” for a while before I get to it. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • 80smetalman
        October 5, 2020

        Lol 🙂


      • Maybe I can set up a battle between .38 Special’s “Hold On Loosely” and ELO’s “Hold On Tight.” We’ll see what method of holding on most people prefer? Haha. Okay, this is getting silly.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. wardo68
    October 5, 2020

    Thank you for this series. Music heals.


  8. Alyson
    October 10, 2020

    You really are being a little ray of sunshine aren’t you? I totally agree music is a real balm for the soul, especially during these dark times, and I even started a new series over at my place with that title but to honest I’m a bit up and down at the moment, so I have to dig deep.

    As for all these Hold On songs, I hadn’t heard of any of them (just the Wilson Philips one mentioned) but enjoyed the Triumph, Kansas, Marvin Smith and John Lennon songs best. It hadn’t occured to me that the lyrics following on from Hold On would be so apt for our times but they are of course. I will try and hold on a little longer, as I want to hear this podcast of yours!


    • Hi Alyson. Me a “ray of sunshine”? Haha. Although my mother often refers to me as her “little sunshine face,” I don’t think of myself that way, in spite of trying to focus on positive things as frequently as possible. I guess I’ll always have that cynical New Yorker inside my brain, though I might have gotten softer having lived in North Carolina for the past 5 years. Sorry to hear you’re still feeling down. I hope you can find things to perk you up & balance that darkness with lots of light. Balm for the soul, indeed.

      I’m pleased that you enjoyed some of these Hold On songs. It’s a title you wouldn’t expect to be used so often. It’s something I noticed years ago and have wanted to post about it for some time. This seemed like the ideal time to do so. The podcast is still more of a concept than something I’ll do for sure. Time, energy, motivation, etc. are all standing in the way. But it is something I’d like to try at some point. I hate typing, which is one of the reasons I’ve never posted as frequently as many other bloggers. I think talking via a podcast would be more enjoyable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson
        October 19, 2020

        No I don’t suppose I should have called a New Yorker a ‘little ray of sunshine’! I’m not particularly down at the moment, just fed up with the ongoing situation and missing my friends/the things I used to like doing (that involved mass gatherings). Got to be hopeful it will pass as most things in life eventually do.

        As for the typing, I don’t mind it at all which is why my blog posts are a bit on the long side sometimes. If I have a really good keyboard and short finger nails I can type as fast as I think (which maybe isn’t always a good thing) – Alway where the best blog posts come from. It’s when your thought process is delayed with the time it takes to get it down on the page that it becomes troublesome. Yes, I can see how the idea of a podcast would appeal although as I hate the sound of my voice on a recording I’d be loath to do one myself.


      • Sorry for the delayed response. Busy times here, with some good things and some not-so-good things happening. I agree that typing fast without overthinking usually leads to the best blog posts. I can actually type pretty quickly, but I still don’t like typing or writing. I find the whole process tedious, made even more so by my obsessive need to proof-read multiple times. I don’t always trust spell-check but I do trust my knowledge of the English language (or at least the small chunk of it I know well), so I’m always confident that when I click the “Post” button there are no spelling or grammatical errors. I hope things are looking up for you this week. How does Halloween look on your side of the pond?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson
        October 29, 2020

        No worries as the Aussies say. Hope the not-so-good things have resolved themselves but if not, look after yourself.

        I don’t mind the writing and typing but as you say it can take an awful long time and then there is all the proof-reading/reading aloud etc so before you know it a few hours have elapsed. Fine if you’re not busy with other things but none of us have many of those days. I now find the best bit of proof-reading comes straight after you press Publish, as I hate anything going out that sounds wrong so go back in and edit a fair bit. Some posts end up totally different to how they started as well, depending on the reaction.

        Things are looking up for me this week in that my local theatre/arts centre just re-opened today so we’ve dropped by and are going to try and make use of it whilst they’re able to show films (safely). It also turns out my part of Scotland will be in the lowest tier for restrictions, so some of the hospitality venues will be able to open again. We still can’t visit each other inside our homes but there will be more opportunity to meet up elsewhere. As for Halloween it’s not really happening this year but we’ll probably get a pumpkin to carve and those with children will probably dress up and decorate their houses. As it’s very much an American thing that’s made it’s way over here, I hope there will be some merriment on your side of the pond.


      • Oops, I read this comment when you wrote it but got distracted and never responded. How awful of me. 😛 I’m pleased to hear that your theatre/arts center reopened and you’re in a low-tier for restrictions. As long as you’re cautious & smart there’s no reason you shouldn’t take advantage. My wife & I are still very cautious about going out. Other than grocery shopping and the occasional outdoor meal (while the weather cooperates for that) we’re keeping our distance from others. Halloween was interesting this year. We typically get between 0 and 2 kids coming for candy, but the neighborhood was more organized due to COVID so many people put out prepared bags of treats on tables in front of their houses, asking each kid to take one. We put out 16 bags and they were all gone fairly quickly. We did a socially-distanced get-together at our neighbor’s house with dinner & s’mores at their fire pit, and we could see the trick-or-treaters walk by. On an unrelated note, one of my all-time favorite groups who happen to be Scottish, Del Amitri, are releasing their first new song in more than 18 years tomorrow. Needless to say I’m excited. Yay Scotland!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Jonathan Lyness
    April 17, 2021

    Hey Rich, I love your Positive Spin series. I’m a sucker for a good ‘hold on’ song. Such a great theme. Here’s a terrific song by The Alabama Shakes (Britanny Howard) for the next installment!


    • Thanks for the feedback, Jon. And for sharing that Alabama Shakes song. I had forgotten about that one. Great band with a one-of-a-kind vocalist.


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