Holly Knight

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Holly Knight
Producer, songwriter and artist Holly Knight - 2013.jpg
Knight accepting an award from the Women's International Music Network, 2013
Background information
BornNew York, New York
GenresPop, rock
Occupation(s)Songwriter, singer, musician, producer
InstrumentsKeyboards, piano, programming, keytar, guitar, bass, vocals
Years active1980–present
Associated actsSpider

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".

In 2013, she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She has won thirteen ASCAP Awards, and has co written hits for numerous successful musicians, including Tina Turner and Pat Benatar who each won Grammy Awards for their recordings of her co written songs.

Early life and education[edit]

Knight was born in New York City.[1] She started playing classical piano at the age of four, continuing her studies for ten years at the Mannes School of Music.[2]


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. In 1980, her first big break came when she played keyboards (uncredited) on Kiss' Unmasked album[3]. 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).

Knight was already planning to leave Spider, when Dreamland president, songwriter and record producer Mike Chapman urged her to 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,[4] and 2014 Tony Award winner Lena Hall.

In 2017, she contributed a chapter to the book Because I Was a Girl, published by Holt.

Personal life[edit]

Knight has two sons and lives in Los Angeles.[citation needed] She has been married three times, and dated Anton Fig and Paul Stanley in the 1980s.[5]


Studio albums[edit]

  • Holly Knight (1988)

with Device[edit]

Soundtrack appearances[edit]



  1. ^ "Holly Knight". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  2. ^ "Biography". Hollyknight.com. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  3. ^ 2019 interview with Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM
  4. ^ "Porcelain Delivers Rock-Hard Performance". BMI. February 26, 2007. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  5. ^ 2019 interview with Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM

External links[edit]