Hold On

Album: Just a Game (1979)
Charted: 38

Songfacts®:

  • "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 lyric, Rik Emmett didn't write this song because he doubted himself or his ability to achieve his dreams. Rik told Songfacts, "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."

    The song ended up being about the power of music, a theme triumph would revisit on their 1981 song "Magic Power."
  • This band couldn't re-create the studio version of this song live because there were too many overdubs, so they rarely played it in concert even though it was one of their biggest hits. When they did perform it, they typically did a stripped-down, acoustic version, as heard on their 1985 live 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 performing again from time to time.
  • Did Triumph invent the concept of marketing via music video? Rik 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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