"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 United States, U.S.; it reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, ''Billboard'' Hot 100 chart during the winter of 1978–79, and number 14 on the official UK Singles Chart, UK chart.


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 Hot Fun in the Summertime, '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."

Background and writing

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 performances

"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.



* Bobby Kimball – singing, lead and backing vocals *Steve Lukather – electric guitars, backing vocals *Steve Porcaro – Keyboard instrument, keyboards * David Paich – piano, backing vocals *David Hungate – Bass guitar, bass *Jeff Porcaro – Drum kit, drums *Lenny Castro – percussion

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Year-end charts


Cover versions

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''. In 2018, the German metal band Bonfire (band), Bonfire covered this song, releasing it in the album ''Legends''. British Heavy metal music, heavy metal band Saxon (band), Saxon covered the song on their 2021 album of covers Inspirations (album), Inspirations.


{{DEFAULTSORT:Hold The Line 1978 debut singles Songs written by David Paich Toto (band) songs Columbia Records singles 1978 songs Number-one singles in South Africa