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‘Hold on Tight’ Vs. ‘Hold On Loosely’ – Clash of the Titans


There are thousands upon thousands of rock songs about holding on, and not surprisingly, a number of different schools of thought regarding exactly how one should go about doing the holding. Is it better to hold on tight or hold on loosely? We’re pitting the Electric Light Orchestra against 38 Special to settle the question once and for all.

While both songs were released in 1981, 38 Special got there first, releasing ‘Hold on Loosely’ in February as the leadoff single from their ‘Wild-Eyed Southern Boys’ album. The band’s first major crossover hit, it helped break them through to pop audiences, rising to No. 27 on the Hot 100 while cracking the Top Five on the rock charts and sending the album into the Top 20. ‘Loosely’ started a string of Top 40 hits for the band, continuing the following year with the hit ‘Special Forces’ record, which included ‘Caught up in You’ (No. 10) and ‘You Keep Runnin’ Away (No. 38).

Although 38 Special struck first, ELO hit hardest; the group was on a serious roll in 1981, coming off contributions to the hit ‘Xanadu’ soundtrack and their smash 1979 LP, ‘Discovery.’ Released in July of ’81, ‘Hold on Tight’ served as the first single from their ninth studio album, ‘Time.’ As a whole, the record’s songs were supposed to convey the experiences of a man who finds himself marooned in the 21st century; fortunately, the album’s overarching concept didn’t prevent listeners from enjoying ‘Tight’ in its own right, and the song scaled the upper reaches of pop charts around the globe, peaking at No. 10 in the U.S.

So which of these songs makes a more compelling argument for its style of holding on? Don’t be hasty in your decision — you can listen to them below before voting. This Clash of the Titans poll will stay open until Sunday, June 29 at 11:59PM ET, and you can vote once an hour for your favorite.

Watch ELO’s ‘Hold on Tight’

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Watch 38 Special’s ‘Hold on Loosely’

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Next: Top 10 ELO Songs

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