"Hold the Line" is a song by the American rock band Toto. The song was written by the band's keyboardist David Paich, and the lead vocals were performed by Bobby Kimball. The song was released as the band's debut single, and was featured on their debut 1978 eponymous album. The song was a huge success in the U.S.; it reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart[3] during the winter of 1978–79, and number 14 on the official UK chart.

"Hold the Line"
Hold the Line.jpg
Single by Toto
from the album Toto
B-side"Takin' It Back"
ReleasedOctober 2, 1978 (1978-10-02)
  • 3:56 (album version)
  • 3:29 (radio edit)
Songwriter(s)David Paich
Toto singles chronology
"Hold the Line"
"I'll Supply the Love"
Alternative cover
German version
German version


Jeff Porcaro, the band's drummer, gave a definition for the song:

"'Hold the Line' was a perfect example of what people will describe as your heavy metal chord guitar licks, your great triplet A-notes on the piano, your 'Sly'-hot-fun-in-the-summertime groove, all mishmashed together with a boy from New Orleans singing... and it really crossed over a lot of lines."[4]

Background and writingEdit

Keyboardist David Paich noted that the song was relatively easy to develop. He began with the piano riff, which would become the song's intro and chorus. After toying with the piano riff one night, he started singing "Hold the line, love isn't always on time", and found the lyric to be a suitable fit. The verses were subsequently finished two hours later.

Jeff Porcaro on "Hold the Line", in a 1988 interview with Modern Drummer:

"That was me trying to play like Sly Stone's original drummer, Greg Errico, who played drums on "Hot Fun In The Summertime." The hi-hat is doing triplets, the snare drum is playing 2 and 4 backbeats, and the bass drum is on 1 and the & of 2. That 8th note on the second beat is an 8th-note triplet feel, pushed. When we did the tune, I said, "Gee, this is going to be a heavy four-on-the-floor rocker, but we want a Sly groove." The triplet groove of the tune was David's writing. It was taking the Sly groove and meshing it with a harder rock caveman approach."

Several of the band members recall hearing "Hold the Line" for the first time on the radio:

"I flipped the first time I heard myself on the radio. My mom called me up and said, "Turn on KLOS." It was the song "Hold the Line," and I started running around the house in my underwear, screaming, "I'm on the radio!" My wife was cracking up. It was just a thrill." (Steve Lukather, Guitar Player magazine, April 1984)

Bobby Kimball had a similar experience when he heard Toto for the very first time on the radio: "I was asleep, I had my alarm clock set for noon because we were gonna do something in the studio, some promo and when the alarm came on there was the radio and "Hold The Line" was playing. And my room was totally black and I was looking for the telephone and I called Paich and I heard him scream, he was living over there with his girlfriend and he was screaming around and falling over trying to get to the radio."

Live performancesEdit

"Hold the Line" has been a live staple at Toto shows. Steve Lukather played the song live with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band during the summer of 2012. Bobby Kimball has performed the song on all of his solo tours since 2009.



Charts and certificationsEdit

Cover versionsEdit

In 1981, the Bosnian-born Serbian singer Zdravko Čolić released the cover version of this song in the Serbian language, with lyrics "Oktobar je, počinje sezona kiša" ("This is October, the rain season begins"). The Belgian blues band Blue Blot covered the song on their album Where Do We Go.[20]

In 2018, the German metal band Bonfire covered this song, releasing it in the album Legends.[21]


  1. ^ Nelson George (2010). Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson. Da Capo Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-306-81878-3.
  2. ^ Lecaro, Lina (November 19, 2016). "This Monthly Club Is a Non-Ironic Celebration of Rock's Softer Side". LA Weekly.
  3. ^ "Album Search for "toto"". AllMusic. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 4, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 311. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ a b c d Steffen Hung. "Toto - Hold The Line". Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  7. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 30, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  10. ^ "Kent Music Report No 288 – 31 December 1979 > National Top 100 Singles for 1979". Kent Music Report, via Imgur.com. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  11. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Archived from the original on October 6, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1979/Top 100 Songs of 1979". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2018 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  15. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Toto – Hold the Line". Music Canada.
  16. ^ "Danish single certifications – Toto – Hold the Line". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved February 5, 2019. Scroll through the page-list below until year 2019 to obtain certification.
  17. ^ "Italian single certifications – Toto – Hold the Line" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Hold the Line" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  18. ^ "British single certifications – Toto – Hold the Line". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Hold the Line in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  19. ^ "American single certifications – Toto – Hold the Line". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  20. ^ "Hold the Line - Blue Blot". AllMusic. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  21. ^ "Hold the Line - Bonfire". The Rockpit. Retrieved May 6, 2019.