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“Hold Up the Light”: A Song That is Still Relevant 32 Years Later

It’s #SongLyricsSunday! This week’s prompt is “Clear/Dark/Light”. Now Jim, the host for #SLS, has mentioned that this week’s words are general words and describing general colors, but the song I chose is something a tad bit different (but does include the word “light”). The song? “Hold Up the Light” featuring Gospel music legends Bebe & Cece Winans with Whitney Houston. It doesn’t deal with color per se, but more of holding a light in the dark and uncertain times we are living in.

(This is part of a #SongLyricsSunday challenge, which is hosted by Jim at An Unique Title For Me. Anyone can join! Details on how to participate are found at the end of this post!)

Behind the Scenes

“Hold Up the Light” is a song from the 1988 contemporary gospel album Heaven by Bebe & Cece Winans. (Just a little side note, Heaven also features one of my favorite songs “Lost Without You”, which I have mentioned on this blog before). It was co-written by Bebe and Percy Bady. Bady is a gospel and R&B singer, producer, composer, and songwriter. He has written many songs for various artists like Dionne Warwick, Michael McDonald, and Michelle Williams.

The song features Whitney Houston but it’s not the only one on the album with her iconic voice. She was also featured on the song “Celebrate New Life”, which was released as a single in 1989.

Why This Song?

I was just an infant in 1989, but I feel like there were a good number of tunes in the late 80s that were about social problems. Janet Jackson’s album Rhythm Nation 1814 was filled with tunes and lyrics addressing a bunch of social issues. “Hold Up the Light” addressed the problems of drug use, especially with the youth. But, it is sad and ironic, in retrospect, how this song would foreshadow Houston’s later life and her own personal battles with drug addiction.

Although “Hold Up the Light” was released in 1988, it is very relevant in today’s world with the ongoing opioid epidemic. I knew of friends, friends’ loved ones, families, and strangers who died due to opioids. It is heartbreaking. And, with COVID-19, the opioid epidemic is getting worse in the US and Canada.

The fight is not over. We need to keep on fighting.

Listen to “Hold Up the Light” and let me know what you think of the song in the comments.

1989
Soul Train Awards performance
(MDA Telethon performance in 1990, without Whitney)

Lyrics For “Hold Up the Light”

Hold up the light
Save the world from darkness
Hold up the light
Won’t you please, America?

It’s time for all of us
Who claim in God we trust
To take a stand
Let our voice be heard
Across the nation
To every man, every man
If we are the light
It’s time for us to fight
For what is right
We must work while it is day, oh yeah
Before the fall of night

Voices crying
Young people dying
Lost, nowhere to run
So I’m asking
Takes sacrificing
Time for us to come
And hold up the light

Hold up the light (Hey, save the world)
Save the world from darkness (Darkness, say it again, say)
Hold up the light
Won’t you please, America?

Boys and girls
Can’t you see
The kind of friend
Crack can be

See, there’s voices crying
Young people dying
Lost, nowhere to run, nowhere to run
So I’m asking
Takes sacrificing
Time for us to come
And hold up the light

Hold up the light (Save the world)
Save the world from darkness (Can you say it again? Say)
Hold up the light
Won’t you please, America? (Let’s do it, let’s do it)
Hold up the light
Save the world from darkness (Hey)
Hold up the light
Won’t you please, America?

Hey
Come on, hey, hey hey hey hey
Oh, just a little bit higher
You better hold it, you better hold it up
Better hold it up
Oh, oh yeah
This thing is serious
Say save the world
Save the world
You better hold up the light

Voices crying
Young people dying
Lost, nowhere to run (Nowhere to run)
So I’m asking
Takes sacrificing
Time for us to come
And hold up the, hold up the light, yeah

Hold up the light
Save the world from darkness (Oh yeah)
Hold up the light (Say won’t you please…)
Won’t you please, America? (Won’t you please, America?)
Hold up the light (Oh yeah, boys and girls, girls and boys)
Save the world from darkness (Men and women)
Hold up the light (Everybody)
Won’t you please, America? (That’s all)
(Say, I pledge allegiance)
Hold up the light (Better hold up the light, hold it up)
Save the world from darkness (I gotta hold up a little higher)
Hold up the light (A little higher, higher)
Won’t you please, America?
Hold up the light
Save the world from darkness


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