Eyes on the Prize

Bruce Springsteen performs Eyes On The Prize (Hold On) and according to Jan Hammer, this was in 2006

Lyrics for Eyes On The Prize (Alice Wine-Civil Rights Activist)

Paul and Silas bound in jail
Had no money to go their bail
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

Paul and Silas thought
They was lost
Dungeon shook and
The chains come off
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

Freedom’s name is mighty sweet
And soon we’re gonna meet
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

I got my hand on the gospel plow
Won’t take nothing for
My journey now
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

(Chorus)
Hold on, Hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

Only chain that a man can stand
Is that chain O’hand in hand
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

I gonna board
That big Greyhound
Carry the love from
Town to town
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

(Chorus)
Hold on, Hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

The only thing I did was wrong
Was staying’ in the
Wilderness too long
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on
The only thing I did was right
Was the day we started to fight
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

(Chorus)
Hold on, Hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on
Hold on, Hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on
Hold on, Hold on
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on

Ain’t been to heaven
But I been told
Streets up there are
Paved with gold


NOTE: Song is based on the traditional song, “Gospel Plow,” also known as “Hold On,” “Keep Your Hand on the Plow,” and various permutations thereof. “Gospel Plow” is a traditional African American Spiritual. It is listed in the  Roud Folk Song Index , number 10075. The title is biblical, based on Luke 9:62. The lyrics above were composed by Alice Wine as a rallying song for the Civil Rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s, of which she was an active member.

More details here from Wikipaedia

The lyrics to the modern Civil Rights version of the song, “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” are often attributed to Alice Wine from Johns Island, South Carolina. Mrs. Wine was a member of the Moving Star Hall and The Progressive Club on Johns Island. The book Ain’t You Got the Right to the Tree of Life by Guy and Candie Carawan documents songs of the Moving Star Hall and the lives of African Americans on Johns Island in the early sixties.

It is doubtful that Mrs. Wine actually composed the lyrics herself. More likely she had heard the revised refrain and variations on the verses of the older song from the congregation at the praise hall. The leading “Paul and Silas” stanzas in the modern “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” lyrics were already present in some versions of the older “Keep Your Hand on the Plow.” Our Singing Country shows these lyrics were already in use in 1949 and before. Read more about Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Bruce Springsteen and the Sessions Band perform at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in 2006 held to raise funds after Hurricane Katrina, see recording below