Hold On Loosely – 38 Special | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#27); 1981

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Jacksonville’s Van Zant brothers headed two of Southern Rock’s premier bands: Ronnie led Lynyrd Skynyrd while Donnie fronted 38 Special. For Donnie, watching his brother and the group practice in their living room inspired him to also create music. His early playing-in-a-band years were up and-down affairs: so much so that he considered a taking a secure railroad job until Ronnie urged him to give music his all. So Donnie and guitarist Don Barnes put together a band: one that remained nameless until some 38 Special-toting policemen burst in on a rehearsal at a warehouse one night. 38 Special played the honky-tonk circuit for years before snagging a recording contract. After two albums and much touring, the band had a ton of fans primed for something special. That something was Wild-Eyed Southern Boys. With its tongue-in-cheek, eye-catching album cover and its ear-catching track, Hang On Loosely, Southern Boys caught the fans’ cash and gave Ronnie’s younger brother a platinum album of his own.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Rodney Mills

Lyrics Written by:

  • Don Barnes
  • Jeff Carlisi, Jim Peterik