Written and first recorded by Ian Thomas (CAN #28 1981).
Other hit version by Santana (US #15/MOR #34/CAN #4/AUS #64/NZ #31/NETH #22 1982).
From the wiki: “‘Hold On’ is a song written and first recorded by the Canadian singer and songwriter Ian Thomas, on his 1981 album The Runner.
“Thomas was a successful Rock ‘n roll musician in Canada, at the height of his solo career during the 1970s, with his most memorable hit being 1973’s ‘Painted Ladies’ (US #34/CAN #4). Thomas has also done film scoring for about a dozen movies and television shows. Before breaking through with ‘Painted Ladies’, he was a producer at the CBC. Before that, he was part of the Folk music group Tranquility Base.
“In 1981, Thomas made a cameo appearance on SCTV with his real life older brother, Dave Thomas, during a sketch of ‘The Great White North’. He played himself and performed the songs, ‘Pilot’ and ‘Hold On’. He also wrote and recorded the theme song for his brother’s film Strange Brew.
“In 1982 the Latin rock band Santana, featuring lead vocalist Alex Ligertwood, covered the song for their album Shangó. ‘Hold On’ was released as the album’s lead single, charting US Top-20 and Canadian Top-5. The music videofeatures Carlos Santana at a masquerade ball with his then-wife Deborah King as the intended object of his affection, his bandmate Orestes Vilató as his accompanying friend, and actor Henry Darrow as the prize wheel spinner.”
The Ian Thomas Band, “Hold On” & “Pilot” TV performance on SCTV (1982):
Ian Thomas talks about the writing process behind “Hold On”, and how his performing the song on SCTV launched him and the song (2017):
Santana, “Hold On” (1982):