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Knight accepting an award from the Women's International Music Network, 2013
|Born||New York, New York|
|Occupation(s)||Songwriter, singer, musician, producer|
|Instruments||Keyboards, piano, programming, keytar, guitar, bass, vocals|
Holly Knight is an American songwriter, musician and singer. She was a member of the 1980s pop rock groups Spider and Device, and wrote or co-wrote several hit singles for other artists, such as "Rag Doll", "Obsession", "Love Is a Battlefield", "The Best", "Invincible", "Better Be Good To Me", "The Warrior", and "Change".
Early life and education
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Knight started studying classical piano at age four and continued her studies for ten years at the Mannes School of Music. She left home at sixteen. Five years later, in the early 1980s, her band Spider (featuring Anton Fig of Late Show with David Letterman), managed by Bill Aucoin, manager of Kiss and Billy Idol, among others, got a recording contract with Dreamland Records, and released two albums: Spider (self-titled; 1980) and Between the Lines (1981).
Dreamland president, songwriter and record producer Mike Chapman urged her to leave the band and move to Los Angeles to pursue her songwriting career. She signed a publishing deal with his company, eventually signing to EMI Publishing. Knight and Chapman worked together on the Top 5 U.S. hit "Better Be Good to Me" (1984) by Tina Turner and "Love Is a Battlefield" (1983) by Pat Benatar, each of which won a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
Knight has written hits for some of the most successful artists in music. For Pat Benatar, in addition to "Love Is a Battlefield", she wrote "Invincible"; she co-wrote "The Best", performed by Bonnie Tyler and later a No. 1 single around the world for Tina Turner. On her own and in collaboration with others, Knight wrote songs with Heart, Aerosmith, Bonnie Tyler, Rod Stewart, and many more. Tina Turner has recorded nine of her tunes, including "The Best", "Better Be Good to Me", and "In Your Wildest Dreams" (1996). She was voted the Best Songwriter in Rolling Stone Magazine's 11th annual poll, along with Phil Collins, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.
Knight had a second band called Device in the mid-1980s, who had a hit with "Hanging on a Heart Attack" off their album 22B3 (1986). Spider and Device both had Top 40 hits, while Device was on MTV's heavy-rotation playlist for four consecutive months. Knight also released a self-titled solo album in 1988. This album featured her own rendition of the song she co-wrote, "Love Is a Battlefield", as well as the single "Heart Don't Fail Me Now", which featured background vocals from Daryl Hall.
Her songs have featured on the soundtracks of numerous films, including Thelma & Louise (1991), Vision Quest (1985), Legend of Billie Jean (1985), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), The Secret of My Success (1987), Stuart Little II (2002), 13 Going on 30 (2004), What the Bleep Do We Know!? (2004), and hit television shows such as Nip/Tuck (2003–2010), The Singing Bee (2007–), American Idol, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Simpsons, Family Guy, 30 Rock, South Park, Dallas Buyers Club, Glee, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Necessary Roughness, the 40th anniversary Saturday Night Live, and the finale episode of The Voice (2011), in which Cee Lo Green performed a duet of "Love Is a Battlefield" with one of the final contestants.
Knight wrote the theme song for the popular Joss Whedon television show Angel (1999–2004), performed by Darling Violetta. She also wrote and produced the title theme for the sitcom Still Standing (2002–2006), performed by Will Hoge, which received the ASCAP award for recognition as one of the top TV music themes of 2003, as well as the same award again in 2004.
In the 21st century, Knight has also been active as a record producer. In 2009, she produced a jazz EP called Natural for Antonia Bennett, daughter of Tony Bennett, and in 2012, an alternative pop record of original songs for her, entitled Ordinary Girl. In 2014, she produced a second full-length jazz record for Antonia Bennett of songs from the "Great American Songbook" called Embrace Me, on Perseverance records. She has also produced tracks for Otep, Fefe Dobson, the Australian band, Porcelain, and 2014 Tony Award winner Lena Hall.
In 2017, she contributed a chapter to the book Because I Was a Girl, published by Holt.
Knight has two sons and lives in Los Angeles.
- Holly Knight (1988)
- 22B3 (1986)
- Ace Frehley - "Hide Your Heart"
- Aerosmith - "Rag Doll" (with Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Jim Vallance)
- Angel (TV series) - theme music
- Animotion - "Obsession" (with Michael Des Barres); "I Engineer" (with Bernie Taupin)
- Jimmy Barnes - "Between Two Fires"
- Pat Benatar - "Love Is a Battlefield"; "Invincible"; "Sometimes the Good Guys Finish First"; "Girl"
- Bon Jovi - "Stick to Your Guns"
- Bonnie Tyler - "Hide Your Heart"; "The Best"; "Where Were You"
- Cheap Trick - "Space"
- Shawn Colvin - "Hold on to the Good Things"
- Device - "Hanging on a Heart Attack"; "Who Says"
- Divinyls - "Pleasure and Pain"
- Fefe Dobson - "Get Over Me"
- The Donnas - "Wasted", "Here for the Party"
- Eighth Wonder - "When the Phone Stops Ringing"
- Elvira - "Here Comes the Bride (of Frankenstein)"; "Haunted House"
- Agnetha Fältskog (ABBA) - "Wrap Your Arms Around Me"
- Lita Ford - "Stiletto"
- Lou Gramm - "Just Between You And Me"
- Hall & Oates - "Soul Love"
- Lisa Hartman - "New Romance (It's a Mystery)"
- Heart - "Never" (with Greg Bloch); "All Eyes"; "There's the Girl" (with Nancy Wilson); "Tall, Dark Handsome Stranger"; "I Love You"
- Grayson Hugh, Thelma & Louise soundtrack - "Can't Untie You from Me"; "Don't Look Back"; "Road to Freedom"
- Chaka Khan - "Baby Me"
- Kidd Video - "When the Phone Stops Ringing"
- Kids Incorporated - "Change"
- Kiss - "Hide Your Heart"; "I Pledge Allegiance to the State of Rock & Roll"; "Raise Your Glasses"
- Holly Knight - "Heart Don't Fail Me Now"; "Howling at the Moon"; "Love Is a Battlefield"
- Less Than Jake - "Overrated (Everything Is)"
- Marilyn Martin - "Turn It On"
- Christopher Max - "I Burn for You"
- Suzie McNeil - "Help Me Out"
- Meat Loaf - "Monstro"; "Alive"
- Leigh Nash - "Angel Tonight"
- Hawk Nelson - "Not the Same"
- Aaron Neville - "Try a Little Harder"
- Otep - "Perfectly Flawed", "UR A WMN NOW"
- Ozzy Osbourne - "Slow Burn"
- Suzi Quatro - "Fear of the Unknown", "Whatever Love Is"
- Real Life - "Babies"
- Riff - "My Heart is Failing Me"
- Scandal featuring Patty Smyth - "The Warrior"; "Hands Tied"
- Sheila - "Little Darlin'"
- Charlie Sexton - "Space"
- Spider - "Better Be Good to Me"; "New Romance (It's a Mystery)"; "Change"
- Dusty Springfield - "Time Waits for No One"
- Paul Stanley - "It's Not Me"
- Rod Stewart - "Love Touch"
- Still Standing (TV series) - "Still Standing"
- Rachel Sweet - "Little Darlin'"
- Tina Turner - "Better Be Good to Me"; "One of the Living"; "The Best"; "You Can't Stop Me Loving You"; "Be Tender with Me Baby"; "Ask Me How I Feel"; "Love Thing"; "In Your Wildest Dreams"; "Do Something"
- John Waite - "Change"
- Kim Wilde - "Turn It On"
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