It was my first shot at the Top 40 format – something I would later do at WCIR-FM in Beckley, WV and WOAY-FM in Oak Hill, WV from 1981 to 1987. I worked at 94X from December 1978 to August 1980 and there are a number of songs that remind me of my brief tenure there. One song that sticks out in my mind is Ian Gomm’s top 20 hit “Hold On” from the fall of 1979.
Ian Gomm had played rhythm guitar (and occasionally bass) in Brinsley Schwarz from 1972 to 1975. Gomm had contributed to two one hit wonders in 1979. He also co-wrote fellow Brinsley Schwarz member Nick Lowe’s top 15 hit “Cruel to be Kind” which peaked at 12 in August of that year. “Hold On,” released in the US on Stiff/Epic Records, only made it to 18 in October. While the original title of Gomm’s debut LP was “Summer Holiday,” the album was rechristened in the US as “Gomm with the Wind.”
It is a pity that it didn’t do better as it a great song. It starts out with a driving acoustic guitar which is then joined by one of the most perfect bass lines to hit the top 40. Last week we mentioned Raphael Ravenscroft’s sax work on Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street”; he is back with a killer alto saxophone lead that makes this song.
Why wasn’t this song a bigger hit? Probably because of bad promotion on the part of CBS Records' Epic division as Gomm was a Stiff Records’ artist and not a CBS signed artist. Such is the way of show biz.