One woman hit maker: Interview with songwriter Holly Knight

Holly Knight dressed typically in black

Holly Knight dressed typically in black. Image: Matthew Beard

THE Song Writers Hall of Fame is dominated by men but Holly Knight is the amazing exception having written some of the best-selling songs of all time.

She started off as a pianist as a child, went through a rebellious period, leaving home in New York as a young teenager before becoming a member of band called Spider which saw her compose her first minor hit.

Quite early on in her career she discovered that being a ‘rock chick’ and musician she had to fight enormous prejudice and sexism but went on to write or cowrite hits for performers such as Aerosmith, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, Chaka Khan, Cheap Trick, Heart, Kiss, Meatloaf, Ozzy Osbourne, Patty Smith, Rod Stewart, John Waite and most famously of all, Tina Turner.

In fact, Tina Turner has recorded no less than nine of her compositions, perhaps the most famous being The Best (originally recorded by Bonnie Tyler) which after a relatively slow start became one of the most played songs from the 1980s which is still hugely successful today.

In her new book, I Am The Warrior she reveals all about her 40 plus year career which has seen her have two marriages and affairs with some of rock’s greatest stars including several members of KISS.

From the very beginning she recognised that she would have to fight to be accepted as a musician and songwriter but was determined to do it on her own terms without having to use sex to climb the ladder.

She admits that sometimes it appeared that she was in the right place at the right time and having managed to meet highly successful song writer and producer Mike Chapman who had hit it big in the UK writing scores of hits with Nicky Chinn for artists like Sweet, Racey, Suzi Quatro, Mud and Kim Wilde, before he moved to Los Angeles where Holly was taken under his wing.

Pretty soon though, they had cowritten Love is a Battlefield for Pat Benatar and from there, working with Chapman and other writers and artists, the rock hits just kept rolling in.

Much of what Holly did was ideal for the newly opened MTV music station and she found more and more of her compositions being promoted both on radio and through videos on MTV.

Talking about the book, Holly said “I’ve been fighting my whole life for the things that mattered to me. It started when I was a child but as I got older, I was able to articulate in a more elegant and creative manner what was most important to me: independence, autonomy, expressing my own voice, anarchy in all its glory, and, essentially, telling people to f**k off in a clever way.”

Summing up, Tina Turner said in the foreword to I Am The Warrior “It seems a lifetime ago that I first heard The Best.

“It’s not a song that I’ve carried—but rather a song that has carried me around the world. The energy it gave me on stage lifted me and the audience, a rare treasure—a universal anthem.”

To find out more about Holly, her music and her book visit

Author badge placeholder
Written by

Euro Weekly News Media

Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page