Hold On

Album: Just a Game (1979)
Charted: 38
  • "Hold On" was the first charting success for the Canadian progressive rock trio Triumph, with Rik Emmett on lead guitar and vocals, Gil Moore on drums and vocals, and Michael Levine on bass and keyboards. This uplifting, inspirational song is from their debut album Just A Game.

    Despite the lyrics, Rik Emmett didn't write this song because he doubted himself or his ability to achieve his dreams. Rik told us, "I was singing those vowel sounds, like open vowels, high, over top of chord changes, and then 'Hold on, Hold on' sort of came out of holding these open vowel sounds. So now I was going to say, 'Okay, so the song's going to be called 'Hold On.' What am I going to hold on for? Well, I'm going to hold on to my dreams.' Then the lyrics grew backwards out of the hook." (Here's the full interview with Rik Emmett.)
  • Because of the technical difficulty of the song as it was recorded in the studio, it has never been performed by the entire band live. A stripped-down, acoustic version can be heard recorded live on the album Stages.
  • Rik Emmett left the band in 1988; Triumph soldiered on without him, briefly bringing in Phil Xenidis as a replacement, before fizzling out in the early '90s. However, all three original members reformed somewhat by the late 2010s, releasing a greatest-hits album and mentioning that they might tour again.
  • Did Triumph invent the concept of marketing via music video? Emmett in an interview for MTV Ruled the World - The Early Years of Music Video, shares this: "In its early stages for Triumph, we were lucky that we had videos, because [bassist] Mike Levine had the vision, because we were signed to RCA, and they were coming out with these newfangled VHS machines and really had a corporate desire to try and sell these things. The whole idea of the convergence of different branches of a large conglomerate - that kind of thinking hadn't really taken hold yet, but it was just starting. And Mike went, ' Hey RCA, you've got a division where you manufacture these VHS machines, right? But you've also got a record label, right? Well, why wouldn't you have some concert footage of a band you're trying to promote, put your machines in every record store you can, run a loop of these guys playing, and use that with an RCA television sitting in every store, and you'll be promoting the band, the television, and your VHS machine. This is a marriage made in heaven for you guys!' And they went, 'Oh, yeah, jeez, that makes good sense!' So we had these videos that we made in '78/'79, set up on a soundstage somewhere in Kleinburg, Ontario. When MTV started, they were desperate for content. They had very few videos. So they said, 'Oh, great, Triumph has some stuff? We'll start running it.'"
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