Hold On My Heart

Album: We Can't Dance (1991)
Charted: 16 12


  • A band composition, this poignant song records the thoughts of someone who is hesitant but open to the possibility of loving again after losing someone very dear: "Don't let her see you crying." We're never told what happened to the previous love, but it seems very likely she has died or at the very least is now far away: "She'll always be with me."
  • This is one of those Genesis songs that sounds like it might be a Phil Collins solo effort. "I can understand why people say that, but in a way I resent it because it's very much my chord sequence," keyboard player Tony Banks said in the Way We Walk DVD. "The reason why it sound like Phil a bit is because there are certain kind of chords that I went to because his voice sounds good over them. I put them together in a particular kind of way that I thought was quite attractive."

    Banks added in a Songfacts interview: "I used to get a look from Mike or Phil and they'd say, 'You've gone too far this time.' But, I would try to slip a few things in without them noticing. Even a simple song like 'Hold On My Heart,' the opening chords are pretty exotic, actually, and I crept those in without them really noticing what was happening."
  • Tony Banks embraces unusual sounds that could be considered mistakes by traditional standards. The opening chords of this song are an example, as he created some intentional discord. "I was playing a respectable chord, but putting the wrong bass note to it," he said. "You're desperate for it to resolve, and it finally does. Immediately you've got a song."
  • The working title for this song was "Burt" because it had a Burt Bacharach feel when they were developing it.
  • This was the only mellow song Genesis performed on their 1992 We Can't Dance tour. A recording from the tour is found on the live album from later that year: Live/The Way We Walk - Volume One - The Shorts.
  • A dark and shadowy accompanying video shows the band performing the song in an empty nightclub. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Steve - Torrance, CA, for above 2

Comments: 5

  • Jennifer from TampaOne of my favorite memories of my late husband was us dancing to this in our living room. The other song we really enjoyed was "One More Night". For him, OMN was a collection of memories of the woman he fell in love with while stationed in Cairo, Egypt, as a jet instructor pilot for the United States Air Force in 1985. They would have ended up together except he had a wife (cold and unloving) and two children to come back to (selfish POS's). I never judged him because we all have been lonely at times. He told me that for years, he felt a void since then, but I helped him seal the gap. It's almost as if this song, was a sequel to the past, that put his emotions into words and music.

    Requiem en pace, my darling dragon, Steve. It's almost what would have been your 70th birthday and it's almost 7 years since you rested your wings for this world in preparation for soaring in the next. I shall always love you and keep you in my heart!!!
  • Tlc1976 from Michigan I was surprised when I learned this was a Genesis song and not Phil solo. Mainly because the bass part sounds like Lee Sklar. But this song reminds me of Against All Odds and I thought the beautiful keyboards on that sounded like Tony Banks.
  • Xavier from North Bay, OnMy wife and I chose this song as first dance for us at our wedding.
    It's such a beautiful song. Somewhat sad too, but beautiful...
  • Miles from Vancouver, CanadaEven late in the Phil Collins era, Genesis were still musically oriented. If you take the vocals off this song, you get a very nice New Age piece. Plus, Mike Rutherford's guitar fills sound very much like Carlos Santana.
  • Andrew from Buffalo, NyThis song is a tribute to Burt Bacharach, it was originally titled "burt"
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Bob DaisleySongwriter Interviews

Bob was the bass player and lyricist for the first two Ozzy Osbourne albums. Here's how he wrote songs like "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley" with Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk: Rock vs. TelevangelistsSong Writing

When televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart took on rockers like Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica, the rockers retaliated. Bono could even be seen mocking the preachers.

Tom Waits Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

Pool balls, magpies and thorns without roses - how well do you know your Tom Waits lyrics?

Oliver LeiberSongwriter Interviews

Long before she was judging contestants on American Idol, Oliver was producing Paula Abdul. Here's how he helped turn this unknown choreographer into a star.