I Am the Warrior: My Crazy Life Writing the Hits and Rocking the MTV Eighties


Holly Knight’s singular music career included crafting a good part of the soundtrack to the MTV eighties with mega-hits for Tina Turner (“The Best”), Pat Benatar (“Love Is A Battlefield”), and Patty Smyth (“The Warrior”)—songs that celebrated female empowerment and shaped pop and rock for years to come.

“Holly Knight wrote some of the best and toughest songs for female artists. Her songs helped pave the way for women in rock. Not to mention a few dudes.” —Patty Smyth

As a writer and musician, Holly Knight worked hard and played hard with the likes of KISS, Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, and Heart. She showed the boys how it was done when many women were still struggling to get a foot in the door. Starting in the late 1970s in post-punk New York, Knight, a gifted keyboardist, joined the band Spider—which quickly ascended to buzzworthy status before things began to disintegrate. Fortunately, her song “Better Be Good to Me” found its way to Tina Turner and became the second single on her landmark solo album, Private Dancer, launching Holly into rarified air. Soon she was being sought out to write for other artists in search of the big hit or their lead single. Coinciding with the birth of MTV, Knight’s powerful lyrics, hooks, and melodies became a staple on the channel as it exploded into a cultural force.

“People who grew up in the eighties tell me that MTV was the soundtrack to their lives. Holly Knight deserves much of the credit. Few songwriters have written such a diverse collection of songs for such a broad range of superstars.” —Alan Hunter

But it was an often lonely journey to success. Not only was Holly a woman in a male-dominated industry that didn’t welcome women warmly into the inner sanctum, she carried with her the baggage of a difficult childhood and a fraught relationship with her mother, the substance of which informed the themes that made her songs so anthemic. I Am the Warrior is a story of survival, perseverance, and triumph laced with ample amounts of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. Backstage, onstage, in the studio, and on the road, this book is a revealing, bang-bang tale that welcomes you along for a look back at one of the most adventurous and colorful periods in music history.

“I Am the Warrior takes readers on a wild ride through the eighties world of rock ’n’ roll from a strong female’s perspective. Songwriters Hall of Fame-inductee Holly Knight delivers the goods and stands out as a creative, gutsy woman who made her way through a field dominated by men, ultimately coming out on top. If you love music like I do, this is a must-read!” —Cassandra Peterson (AKA Elvira, Mistress of the Dark)