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"Hold On" is a song by American girl group En Vogue. It was released in early 1990 as the lead single from their debut album Born to Sing (1990). The song was produced by Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, and composed by the former two and all members of En Vogue.

"Hold On"
EnVogue HoldOn.jpg
Single by En Vogue
from the album Born to Sing
  • February 23, 1990 (airplay)
  • March 5, 1990 (CD/cassette)
RecordedAugust – September 1989[1]
StudioStarlight Sound
(Lake City, Florida)
4:23 (7" edit)
  • Denzil Foster
  • Thomas McElroy
En Vogue singles chronology
"Hold On"
Music video
"Hold On" on YouTube


The song opens with an a cappella rendition of the Motown standard "Who's Lovin' You", written by Smokey Robinson and originally recorded by his group, The Miracles. It features lead vocals by Cindy Herron and Terry Ellis vocals on the introduction. The song also contains a guitar sample from "The Payback" by James Brown.

Commercial performanceEdit

Following its release, the single peaked number one on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles, number two on Billboard Hot 100 (behind Glenn Medeiros and Bobby Brown's "She Ain't Worth It"), and number one on Billboard's Hot Dance chart. "Hold On" was also a hit in several countries worldwide, reaching number 5 in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, number 6 in Germany, number 10 in the Netherlands, and number 12 in Austria. "Hold On" was the top R&B hit on the Billboard Year-End chart for 1990,[2] and was the eighth most-successful pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Chart.

En Vogue performed the song at the 2008 BET Awards with Alicia Keys. In 2007, the song's chorus was used and performed by Pharrell on Jay-Z's song "Blue Magic" The song was also sampled in the Terminator X song "Buck Whylin'.

Critical receptionEdit

Billboard wrote about the song: "Step back and give 'em some room! Quartet of future divas fresh from the Foster/McElroy stable deliver intricate, tight harmonies with a dash of sass on this groove-laden debut. Can't wait for the album."[3] Steve Daly, writing for Spin magazine, called the song "perfect for those warm evening on the stoop" and felt that the "exotic melody takes its cue from Soul II Soul, while the rhythm section does a slow grind in 95 percent humidity with no AC."[4]

Impact and legacyEdit

The Daily Telegraph ranked "Hold On" at number 47 in their Top 50 Dance Songs list in 2015, adding:

"R&B girl group En Vogue broke through with this club classic. A sharp acapella rendition of Motown standard Who's Lovin You leads into a hip-hop beat with a funky bass line, horn and piano sounds. "You've got to hold on, to your love", the girls proclaim, and it is their powerful singing that carries this one."[5]

Formats and track listingsEdit

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Born to Sing.[6]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[28] Silver 200,000^
United States (RIAA)[29] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Album / Track Result
1990 Billboard Music Award R&B Single of the Year "Hold On" Won
1991 Grammy Award Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group "Hold On" Nomination
1991 Soul Train Music Award Best Single by a Duo/Group "Hold On" Won

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "WebVoyage Record View 1". 1989-10-02. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  2. ^ "Year End Charts - Year-end Singles - Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Archived from the original on 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  3. ^ "Billboard: Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard magazine (1990-03-17, page 93). Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  4. ^ Daly, Steve (August 1, 1990). "Singles". Spin. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  5. ^ "Top 50 dance songs". Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  6. ^ Born to Sing (Media notes). En Vogue. Atlantic Records. 1990.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  8. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9879." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 7980." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Hold On". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – En Vogue" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  12. ^ " – En Vogue – Hold On" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  13. ^ " – En Vogue – Hold On". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  14. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  15. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  16. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  17. ^ "En Vogue Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  18. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  20. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  21. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  22. ^ "Top 50 Dance Tracks of 1990". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  23. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1990" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  24. ^ "End of Year Charts 1990". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  25. ^ "1990 Top 100 Singles". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. March 2, 1991. p. 41.
  26. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1990". Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  27. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – Year-End 1991". Billboard. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  28. ^ "British single certifications – En Vogue – Hold On". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Hold On in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  29. ^ "American single certifications – En Vogue – Hold On". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit