"Holding Back The Years" as written by and Michael James/moss Hucknall....
Holding back the years
Thinking of the fear I've had for so long
When somebody hears
Listen to the fear that's gone
Strangled by the wishes of pater
Hoping for the arm of mater
Get to me sooner or later

Nothing ever could, yeah
I'll keep holding on
I'll keep holding on
I'll keep holding on
I'll keep holding on

Chance for me to escape from all I know
Holding back the tears
There's nothing here has grown
I've wasted all my tears
Wasted all those years
Nothing had the chance to be good

Nothing ever could, yeah
I'll keep holding on

I'll keep holding on
I'll keep holding on
I'll keep holding on
So tight


Lyrics submitted by AbFab

"Holding Back the Years" as written by Neil Moss Mick Hucknall

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Holding Back The Years song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +3
    General Commentif you look at the words "pater" and "mater" they mean mother and father in latin these are often used facetiously, so Mick is indirectly refering to his mother and father in the lines:

    "Strangled by the wishes of pater,
    Hoping for the arm of mater"

    you can think of a number of reasons for these lines but to me it suggests there is conflict. why he say pater and not dad or mater and not mother seems to me he wants to keep this not so obvious but then again it could be that his family used pater and mater like some people call their parents "mama and papa" in general it is a sad song but with hope, as the final line says:

    "I'll keep holding on.
    So tight."

    with the "fear" lines i feel he has kept something quiet to himself but it goes when he tells some one maybe in a song or through conversation. like they say a problem (or fear) shared is a problem halved hence the lines:

    "When somebody hears,
    Listen to the fear that's gone."
    masonsdon April 16, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment'Holding back the years'lyric, in my opinion is about not wanting to go back there in memory but it still keeps coming up to be dealt with. We all want to hold back on remembering bad things in our lives.

    The singer has been abused, by a domineering father. Wishes his mother was there to be the refuge, the love, the balancer. Obviously even though as an adult there is no more abuse, the fear is still deep inside which affects his life as an adult. This person has spent a long time holding it all in and trying to deal with it on their own. Crying has been a waste of time, it never changed anything, so wasted tears, wasted years. Provided the person can hold on, emotionally, then it'll be ok.
    Cosmosgirlon December 03, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentApparently it is said that Mick wrote the main lyrics referencing the fact his mother (mater) left the family and he was brought up by his father (pater), and his longing to just want to be in his mothers arms. He was 3 when she left and 17 when he wrote the lyrics body.
    The title came later, but it has such a special meaning for so many kids. This has been a favorite of mine since it was released, but bitter childhood memories make it hard to listen to without remembering and those feelings welling up.
    Logicalmanukon July 25, 2015   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI always visualise Delboy in Only Fools And Horses (UK TV comedy programme) as this song is playing at Rodney/Cassandra's and he's all alone after they've gone ... sad song
    Sirius1on August 30, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI believe that the Lyric "Holding Back the Years" is about
    a period of time in the past and presently not taking action
    in his life in making it better due to fear of self worth, accomplishment
    and success.
    I think this is a song about a person that was mentally abused by his parents
    where the parents did not wish their child to succeed in life, leaving the now adult
    with fears of success and really living a happy life due to the abuse.

    "Chance for me to escape from all I know"
    meaning he needs to get away from the destructive thoughts and fears he learned from
    the negative upbringing.
    Gmaddox322on July 20, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI can never listen to this without tearing up. I don't know what it is...
    giasintaon August 07, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentesta cancion significa para mi, el recorrido en la vida de un hombre que se aferra a los recuerdos y a lo vivido, a pesar de sentir que muchas cosas no salieron tan bien como el pensaba, a pesar de las carencias, a pesar de las lagrimas y el dolor, sigue aferrandose a la vida.
    constanza20on March 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlways thought it was about being lonely and watching the years go by with no one to share them with intimately.He feels like his best years are passing him by and he's still alone while everyone else around him has found that special someone.I could be wrong though.Anyway,great song,always loved it even when I was a kid.
    tyranny_soulson October 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI thought someone would know? its about mick's mother deserting him and he was raised by his father.
    jump up!on February 24, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGreat tune this, it's hard to find another song that epitomises a certain era so well this is a truly haunting track from 1985 - 86, I listen to this and I'm back in the mid 80's! The comment about 'Only Fools And Horses' sums it up, I don't know why but the 80's hold the most nostalgia for me, may have something to do with the age I was then, all the growing to be done and all the possibilties...

    MattScaleson May 18, 2011   Link

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