About the song
If you are a fan of classic rock, chances are you have heard of Toto, the American band that rose to fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s with hits like “Africa”, “Rosanna” and “Hold the Line”. In this blog post, we will focus on the latter song, which was their debut single and one of their most successful and enduring tunes. We will explore the history, meaning and impact of “Hold the Line”, a song that combines hard rock, arena rock and yacht rock elements with catchy hooks and memorable lyrics.
“Hold the Line” was written by Toto’s keyboardist David Paich, who also sang backup vocals on the track. The lead vocals were performed by Bobby Kimball, who had a powerful and distinctive voice that suited the song’s energetic and passionate mood. Paich said that he came up with the title “Hold the Line” after experiencing a situation where he had to juggle multiple phone calls from different girls at his home. He then started to write lyrics about what love is not, using the phrase “It’s not in the way” repeatedly. He said that he wanted to express the idea that love is not always easy or convenient, but it is worth fighting for.
The song was recorded in 1978 at Studio 55 in Los Angeles, California, with Toto’s other members: Steve Lukather on guitar, Steve Porcaro on synthesizer, David Hungate on bass and Jeff Porcaro on drums. Jeff Porcaro said that he was inspired by Sly Stone’s drummer Greg Errico to create a groove that mixed triplets on the hi-hat with a four-on-the-floor bass drum pattern. He said that he wanted to blend a Sly groove with a “harder rock caveman approach”. Steve Lukather added a guitar solo after the second chorus, showcasing his skills and techniques such as bending, alternate picking, vibrato and harmonies.
The song was released as the lead single from Toto’s self-titled debut album in September 1978 by Columbia Records. It became an instant hit for the band, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 14 on the UK Singles Chart. It also charted well in other countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany, France and Japan. The song received positive reviews from critics, who praised its catchy melody, powerful vocals and tight musicianship. The song also earned Toto their first Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1979.
The song has been covered by many artists over the years, such as Lionel Richie, Maroon 5, Collective Soul, Hootie & the Blowfish and Weezer. It has also been featured in many movies, TV shows, video games and commercials, such as Rock of Ages, Family Guy, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Geico. The song remains one of Toto’s most popular and recognizable songs, and a staple of classic rock radio stations. It is also a favorite among fans and musicians alike, who appreciate its timeless appeal and quality.
In conclusion, “Hold the Line” is a song that has transcended its era and genre to become a classic rock anthem that celebrates love and perseverance. It showcases Toto’s talent and versatility as a band, and their ability to create songs that connect with listeners across generations and cultures. It is a song that holds the line between pop and rock, between simplicity and complexity, between emotion and technique.