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Tom Waits — Hold On
Album: Mule Variations
Avg rating:
7.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 4347









Released: 1999
Length: 5:29
Plays (last 30 days): 5
They hung a sign up in our town
"If you live it up, you won't live it down"
So she left Monte Rio, son
Just like a bullet leaves a gun
With her charcoal eyes and Monroe hips
She went and took that California trip
Oh, the moon was gold, her hair like wind
Said, 'Don't look back, just come on, Jim'

Oh, you got to hold on, hold on
You gotta hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right here
You gotta hold on

Well, he gave her a dimestore watch
And a ring made from a spoon
Everyone's looking for someone to blame

When you share my bed, you share my name
Well, go ahead and call the cops
You don't meet nice girls in coffee shops
She said, 'Baby, I still love you'
Sometimes there's nothin' left to do

Oh, but you got to hold on, hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on
And take my hand, I'm standing right here
You gotta hold on

Well, God bless your crooked little heart
St. Louis got the best of me
I miss your broken China voice
How I wish you were still here with me
Oh, you build it up, you wreck it down
Then you burn your mansion to the ground
Oh, there's nothing left to keep you here
But when you're falling behind in this big blue world

Oh, you've got to hold on, hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right here
You gotta hold on

Down by the Riverside motel
It's 10 below and falling
By a 99 cent store
She closed her eyes and started swaying
But it's so hard to dance that way
When it's cold and there's no music
Oh, your old hometown's so far away
But inside your head there's a record that's playing

A song called 'Hold On', hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right there
You gotta hold on

You gotta hold on, hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right there
You gotta hold on

You gotta hold on, hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on
And take my hand, I'm standing right here
You gotta hold on

You gotta hold on, hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on
And take my hand, I'm standing right here
You gotta hold on

You gotta hold on
You gotta hold on
You gotta hold on
You gotta hold on
You gotta hold on, baby
You gotta hold on, girl
You gotta hold on
You gotta hold on
Comments (334)add comment
I still remember his final appearance on Letterman when Dave was handcuffed to George Clooney. Hilarious. Tom was a riot and performed a pretty great song for Dave.
 belegato wrote:

His singing voice is phony and so is his Bowery bum shtick if he's still using it.


then go listen to iheartradio then
 belegato wrote:

His singing voice is phony and so is his Bowery bum shtick if he's still using it.



Yes, you're right. No other musical artist in the history of time has used vocal affectations or creative personas. Good catch. :/
 belegato wrote:

His singing voice is phony and so is his Bowery bum shtick if he's still using it.




Nobody's singing voice is "phony", unless they're not actually singing. 

The Tom Waits haters are inexplicable.  I think Leonard Cohen sucks horribly, but his music is thoughtful and original and not very commercial, so I get it, and I'm not trolling the comments under his songs.  Just for example.  

How does this not apply to Tom?  What's up your ass?



"You don't meet nice girls in coffee shops"
Aw c'mon Tom, sure you can!   ; ) 
His singing voice is phony and so is his Bowery bum shtick if he's still using it.
 jarad.petroske176 wrote:

Tom Waits is awful. This is the worst stuff RP plays.



Condolences, you poor lost soul.  Repent, there is light ahead if you seek it ...
Tom Waits writing this song:
 
"When you share my bed, you share my name
Well, go ahead and call the cops
I ate up the last of your Corn Pops."
 
"No, that doesn't work... hmmm...  I just got a call from your pops... no... you don't meet nice girls holding mops... no... shops, yes coffee shops, nice girls in coffee shops...." (scribble scribble)
 
Tom Waits is awful. This is the worst stuff RP plays.
The pacing, the vocal (yes, the vocal), and production are perfect on this song. They all fit the lyrics perfectly.
 naturalman wrote:

Bumping this from an 8 to a 9. Not sure why I was being such a Grinch. 



But you finally saw the light our friend.
 RazzCat wrote:


Close your eyes, wipe your mind and listen to those lyrics...

It's a 12....

Or a 15 tom is such a talent 
 nevar23 wrote:

True dat. It took me a long time to accept Tom Waits as my personal savior but once I did, boy howdy.


Chocolate Jesus?
Bumping this from an 8 to a 9. Not sure why I was being such a Grinch. 
 itsme_bygolly wrote:

My son thinks this is the most popular song about an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister. If you listen to the lyrics from this perspective, the lyrics can be construed that way. Who knew?




Well, there's nothing to indicate that this is the case, and most songs about love could be construed that way when the characters aren't described specifically.
 lizardking wrote:

I'm sure ace-marc was NOT joking....singing doesn't always have to be 'beautiful' to be great....there's a lot of passion and feeling in his vocals that is enjoyable to many including me.  I'm at an 8 on this gem, nearly a 9.....Long Live RP!!

His voice is perfect for his music.  This song will always be a 10 for me. 
The voice The words The music
 jp33442 wrote:
 
 I have it at 8 so I don’t care what you think



Close your eyes, wipe your mind and listen to those lyrics...

It's a 12....
Tom Waits is an acquired taste. I didn't get it for years, but now do. A fantastic songwriter!
My son thinks this is the most popular song about an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister. If you listen to the lyrics from this perspective, the lyrics can be construed that way. Who knew?
OK I think I need to get this album.  Yes it's taken me 23 years to figure this out.
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.


I see what you did there...
 McBuggins wrote:


Don't forget his portrayal of the Mr Nick, the devil, in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus....I bet he loved playing that role!








Fisher King as well. 
Geez Louise!
These lyrics here
are wigglin' my kneez!

Songsmithing at its finest...
 rbrise wrote:


he's also great in Licorice Pizza...Hell he's great in everything he does...Ironweed...Down By Law...


Don't forget his portrayal of the Mr Nick, the devil, in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus....I bet he loved playing that role!





I can't find the PSD button. Help!
 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:


Tom did a great job as the miner in Buster Scruggs.


he's also great in Licorice Pizza...Hell he's great in everything he does...Ironweed...Down By Law...
from a 7>10. I was really listening to this today. No distractions, with headphones. I'm not a huge Tom Waits fan but this is brilliant!
subito pensavo che fosse Leo Cohen incredibile voce - Bravo 
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.


Perfectly said, and so funny.  Thanks for the morning laugh.
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.


Time Waits for no human!
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.


hahahaha...thank you
 bkrans9 wrote:

The official song of 2020



And 2021. . . and looks like it will be the anthem for 2022 as well.  
Maybe, just maybe, it's a song for the ages!
I love Tom Waits and yet this one does nothing for me. Lyrics I mean. They seem so cliche for some reason. Like and AI version of his lyrics. Music lovely.
 richjohnsonarts326 wrote:


His role in Bram Stoker's Dracula as Renfield was amazing too!

he was in Wristcutters, A Love Story, and did a fine job, highly recommended if you like quirky movies, and hey, it has Tom Waits.
Imagery in this is stunning. My favorite Tom song, so understated.
Thanks for this.
Unlike Dylan or Neal Young, I really LIKE Tom Waits' voice. Sure, it's as gravely as you get, but I think it adds texture. Strangely, I find it soothing. It does hurt that I think the words and tune are stellar. 
 dmcanany wrote:

I got this song as a CD single at a music sale for a community radio station in Boulder, CO in about 1997. It was a random purchase at the time, but it made an indelible impression on me and always reminds me of that bright time in my life, free in the mountains in my early 20s. 



2 years before it was released uh?
 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:


Tom did a great job as the miner in Buster Scruggs.


His role in Bram Stoker's Dracula as Renfield was amazing too!
Hands down my favorite Tom Waits song, especially during these Covid Flood hard times.
Maybe it's the broccoli, but this is the first time I've really heard this song.
Might also be the fine over-ear headphones cranked up.
Singing along, reading the lyrics, with feeling.
Never realised just how good this is.
Definite 10+ ...
:)
I got this song as a CD single at a music sale for a community radio station in Boulder, CO in about 1997. It was a random purchase at the time, but it made an indelible impression on me and always reminds me of that bright time in my life, free in the mountains in my early 20s. 
Sometimes his voice is very similar to Bruce Springsteen, at least to my ear.
 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:


Tom did a great job as the miner in Buster Scruggs.


Good night, Mr. Pocket!  Tom was incredible.  I felt sorry for the fields he dug up though.  A must see!
I bet he's interesting to talk with. 
This man can do no wrong. Outstanding. Every one of his songs is a movie waiting to be made. 
B e. A u. T. If. U. L!!
A genius IMHO...
Simple loveliness.
Thanks B & R.
 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:


Tom did a great job as the miner in Buster Scruggs.
 

An excellent role for him in a remarkable version of Jack London's short story. 
 lizardking wrote:

I'm sure ace-marc was NOT joking....singing doesn't always have to be 'beautiful' to be great....there's a lot of passion and feeling in his vocals that is enjoyable to many including me.  I'm at an 8 on this gem, nearly a 9.....Long Live RP!!
 
+1 to 9 today. LLRP!!
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.
  Great comment...

There are a lot of comments about Tom's voice. While it is unmistakably rough, I find it beautiful, unlike Dylan or Neil Young. That's a personal opinion, not a professional one. It has a richness and a warmth, especially on this song.   And he lives in my town too, so call me biased.
I really discover this album by RP and find it greater i listen to it ! I should check the entire composition... Means probably a story line by songs one after one.
 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:


Tom did a great job as the miner in Buster Scruggs.
 
Yup! dang tootin'!
The official song of 2020
 cely wrote:
Changed from a 9 to a 10 when I realized this is one of Tom's greatest songs. Therefore obviously a 10.
 

 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:


Tom did a great job as the miner in Buster Scruggs.
 

Lookin' like Nick Nolte's long lost brother.  ; )
Please let me rate this song a 10 again.
 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:


Tom did a great job as the miner in Buster Scruggs.
 

I love that! It's my favorite story of the movie and it turns out its played by one of my favorite artists.
 hbs47 wrote:
Yet again another dreadful TW track. I fail to see what anyone see in this awful dirge. Make Bob Dylan  sound like an opera singer.
 
 
oh man...........
 DeemerDave wrote:

If you want Luther Vandross, you might be in the wrong place.{#Confused}
 

 DeemerDave wrote:

If you want Luther Vandross, you might be in the wrong place.{#Confused}
 

Changed from a 9 to a 10 when I realized this is one of Tom's greatest songs. Therefore obviously a 10.
Agreed......to add.....one of the finest tunes...

mach-hog wrote:
One of his very fine tunes.
 

 steeler wrote:
The art of songwriting on full display.

Heck, the art of writing, period.  


 

Heck, art, period. 
One of his very fine tunes.
Have a good cough mate.
She's got the milk of human kindness 
and the fat of the land
she's got skin like a baby
but she drives like a man

She lives in Natchez
and she operates a crane
she's like a wrecking ball... 
that's no longer connected to the chain!

Always Keep A Diamond In Your Mind
 mbolch30307 wrote:
Song is wearing me down. Just changed from a 1 to a 4. In another 20 years, maybe it'll go to a 6--but I doubt it.
 I have it at 8 so I don’t care what you think

Song is wearing me down. Just changed from a 1 to a 4. In another 20 years, maybe it'll go to a 6--but I doubt it.
 rhlrstn wrote:

This is a joke, right? He sounds like he just finished smoking his 100th pack of cigarettes for the day...
 
I'm sure ace-marc was NOT joking....singing doesn't always have to be 'beautiful' to be great....there's a lot of passion and feeling in his vocals that is enjoyable to many including me.  I'm at an 8 on this gem, nearly a 9.....Long Live RP!!
 ace-marc wrote:
Man can he sing.
This is absolutely beautiful!
 
This is a joke, right? He sounds like he just finished smoking his 100th pack of cigarettes for the day...
 KurtfromLaQuinta wrote:


Tom did a great job as the miner in Buster Scruggs.
 

and Renfield!
Man can he sing.
This is absolutely beautiful!
If only he could sing.  I don't know who told him he could but they are seriously mistaken - as he is.
This is awful!
 countyman wrote:
The song before this I wrote that artist just doesn't do it for me.  This guy really does it for me.
 
I'm sure the legendary Tom Waits would appreciate your vote of confidence.


Tom did a great job as the miner in Buster Scruggs.
Thanks to Buster Scruggs, he'll now always be the prospector talking to Mister Pocket.  
The song before this I wrote that artist just doesn't do it for me.  This guy really does it for me.
A girl I knew in Ann Arbor turned me on to Tom Waits. I think about her every time this comes on. 
This track is simply awesome. Tom Waits has been one of my favorite artist since the early 80's 
Following Down By The River with this, more samey than segue.
 SchoepTone wrote:
Just saw Tom Waits in the Coen brother's Buster Scruggs movie. Perfect casting! Oh, and this song is amazing too!
 SAW THE SAME FLICK LAST NIGHT. HE WAS GREAT.

Just saw Tom Waits in the Coen brother's Buster Scruggs movie. Perfect casting! Oh, and this song is amazing too!
"You don't meet nice girls in coffee shops"

Genius!
Now this I can stomach. As I have always said, Waits is a phenomenal song writer. Just loose the schtick voice and I can actually appreciate his talent!!!
Waits makes me want
to hit rock bottom
just so I can call this song
my own
 {#Notworthy}On_The_Beach wrote:

bump

 

 nevar23 wrote:

True dat. It took me a long time to accept Tom Waits as my personal savior but once I did, boy howdy.

 
"boy howdy", indeed.  Bill, pray add "Waitslike" above 10 on the rating scale.  
Especially true for cryptocoiners today.
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.
 
bump
 DeemerDave wrote:

If you want Luther Vandross, you might be in the wrong place.{#Confused}

 
???
          

This song is beautiful in so many ways.
 DeemerDave wrote:

If you want Luther Vandross, you might be in the wrong place.{#Confused}

 
Luther who?
Most excellent. And better — new to me.
 hbs47 wrote:
Yet again another dreadful TW track. I fail to see what anyone see in this awful dirge. Make Bob Dylan  sound like an opera singer.
 

 
If you want Luther Vandross, you might be in the wrong place.{#Confused}
For some reason i get a Springsteen feel on how the lyrics flow.............
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.

 
WWTWD
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.

 
True dat. It took me a long time to accept Tom Waits as my personal savior but once I did, boy howdy.
 hbs47 wrote:
Yet again another dreadful TW track. I fail to see what anyone see in this awful dirge. Make Bob Dylan  sound like an opera singer.
 

 
I'll admit, he takes some getting used to. But once you do, there's brilliance there, imho.
Yet again another dreadful TW track. I fail to see what anyone see in this awful dirge. Make Bob Dylan  sound like an opera singer.
 

gotta have more Cow Bell and MORE Tom Waits!
Ok, 10 form me too
Why no backround girls around?
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.

 
yup yup yup
Jeebus, this is fine. 10.
 lasker98 wrote:

Possibly the best comment I've ever read (and true).

 
Nice! (I laughed.)
When the 'art' of songwriting and performing was born, "Hold On" was what they had in mind.
The art of songwriting on full display.

Heck, the art of writing, period.  


 vishisingh wrote:
One of those amazing "time and place" songs - very evocative and beautifully sung. 
 
So true,

Down by the Riverside motel
It's 10 below and falling
By a 99 cent store
She closed her eyes and started swaying
But it's so hard to dance that way
When it's cold and there's no music
Oh, your old hometown's so far away
But inside your head there's a record that's playing

A song called 'Hold On', hold on
Babe, you gotta hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right there
You gotta hold on


One of those amazing "time and place" songs - very evocative and beautifully sung. 
 SweTex wrote:
I hate it when people compare Tom Waits to God. I mean, sure he's great, but he's no Tom Waits.

 
Possibly the best comment I've ever read (and true).
Brilliant songwriter.
 Dahlia_Gumbo wrote:
Absolutely one of my fave Waits songs. Thank you!
 
.......... and mine - it's a big FAT 10
Absolutely one of my fave Waits songs. Thank you!
after the temptations "I Can't Get Next to You" - there isn't a rating low enough, for me anyway - but variety is the spice of life