The second track on Jackson Browne's Hold Out
album is the title track
, where he takes a hard look at the sacrifices he's made and realizes it's been ruinous for his love life. In that song, he's the "hold out," paying the price for a life dedicated to music.
Browne started writing that song in 1975 when he was at a crossroads with his girlfriend Phyllis Major; he married her later that year but a few months later she died by suicide.
In 1980 when he was working on the Hold Out
album, Browne was once again in a committed relationship, this time with Lynne Sweeney, an Australian model he met when he was touring that country in 1977. He wrote "Hold On Hold Out" as an update to "Hold Out," addressing both himself and Sweeney. It's the last song on the album, ending with an affirmation that he's in love with her. The couple got married a year later but it didn't work out; they divorced in 1983.