In Tina, the HBO documentary about Tina Turner, she explains that the film is her epitaph, the last of her remarkable life story she’ll be sharing with the public. And the last song in the film is Turner’s signature: “The Best,” one of nine she recorded that was written or co-written by Holly Knight.
Like Turner, Knight’s career ended up in a very different place than it started. Holly was an ace keyboard player who formed a band called Spider in the late ’70s. She turned to songwriting out of necessity: Everybody else in the band was writing songs, but they weren’t very good. A few of the songs Knight wrote for the band charted in the early ’80s (including “New Romance (It’s A Mystery)” and “It Didn’t Take Long”), and one that didn’t, “Better Be Good To Me,” became a hit for Turner a few years later.
When she left Spider, Knight quickly found her groove as a hitmaker for other artists. “Love Is A Battlefield,” “The Warrior,” “Obsession” – all her co-writes. She wrote with Aerosmith (“Rag Doll”), Kiss (“Hide Your Heart”) and Bon Jovi (“Stick To Your Guns”). She wrote with Heart (“Never”), Rod Stewart (“Love Touch”) and Lou Gramm (“Just Between You And Me”).
Here, Knight tells the stories behind many of these songs and goes into detail on her songwriting process, explaining master class concepts like how to honor the bassline and when to use a bridge. So many stories to tell, but we’ll start with Tina Turner and how they’re bonded through the songs.