CLOTHES blasted around the room with reckless fury after a night of passion with slutty Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.
But famed singer Holly Knight’s romp with the rock queen soon came to an end after she accidentally set off a house alarm.
New Yorker Holly, 66, who wrote eighties hits including Tina Turner’s The Best, Pat Benatar’s Love Is A Battlefield, Patty Smith’s The Warrior, Bon Jovi’s Stick To Your Guns, and Aerosmith’s Rag Doll, is now releasing candid memoir I Am The Warrior on her sex and rock and roll years in the music industry.
She also opened up about dating Kiss singer Gene Simmons, Every Time You Go Away heartthrob Paul Young and rocker Daryl Hall, talked about how she turned down Rod Stewart’s chat line, and recalls what it was like touring with What’s Love Got To Do. With him diva Tina – for which she wrote nine songs.
Laughing, she tells Kristen Bell Tattoos: “My whole life is surreal, I have to pinch myself and realize that it was not someone else. The eighties were one of the last decades of excesses before the consequences.
“I wasn’t just a fan who got another notch on my belt, I lived and when you’re young you have to do crazy things.
“I don’t feel embarrassed, I own it. It was fun. All my close friends love to hear about it and have said they would do the same.”
“No Incident Threesome”
Detailing her months of flirting with infamous Aerosmith ladies’ man Steven, Holly tells Kristen Bell Tattoos about “forgetting he’s a rock star” during four-hour phone calls and just thinking of him as “an interesting and nice guy.” But things got sexy, she writes in her book, after he told a dream in which she “shaved a certain part” of her body, leaving him “bald as an eagle.”
She writes that while working on Aerosmith’s 1987 hit Rag Doll, Holly was shocked when American rockers hired strippers to “play the bong on their bare bottoms” for the record. The unknown ladies received a nod on the album cover with a note “Thank you Flesh Bongos”.
After he took Holly with him one evening and then walked her back to the hotel, she tells Kristen Bell Tattoos, Stephen placed a “big, fat, juicy kiss” on her lips, but she pulled back, fearing damage to her career. She says: “It’s not so much his technique that kisses well, but his physical data. He has big thick lips. While I turned him down that night, a few months later I initiated everything.”
The intrigue occurred at her home in Los Angeles, when the jam session ended with them heading upstairs. Holly writes: “The truth is, at one point when we were making music in my studio, I knew we would end up on my bedroom floor. It was inevitable, given our strong sympathy for each other. Steven is a delightful kisser. As for the rest, you’ll have to use your imagination.
But while leading Stephen to her room, Holly accidentally kicked the box containing her panic alarm, which then silently sent out a distress call for 45 minutes. She writes: “Suddenly, through the open door of my bedroom, I saw beams of flashlights reflecting off my walls.”
It’s one of the “surreal, pinched moments” of her life that she loves to tell her friends about. But after that night, she tells Kristen Bell Tattoos, she won’t see Steven for 20 years, and while she wonders what could have been, she “trusts the universe’s plan.” She adds: “If I contacted him, maybe I would like to stick a stake in his heart? He was known for his disorderliness.”
She writes that it was one of many adventures after finding her “tribe” as a songwriter and musician. She also sang in the 1980s pop rock band Device, played keyboards with Spider, and released her own self-titled album in 1988.
Her career choice worried her parents, both hospital workers, and her grandparents, surgeons, Jews who had fled Nazi Germany in 1935. Holly played the piano for the first time at the age of four and found rock and roll music an escape from her “fickle” mom. By the age of 15, she had run away from home with a 20-year-old musician.
After years on the road, that relationship ended and it was through concert attendance that she got into the music scene before joining bands.
She writes that her big break came after she met Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, with whom she had a “pretty quiet” threesome and later played keyboards with the band during recording sessions. She writes about dating celebrities: “I was curious if sex with a rock star felt different than sex with mere mortals. In truth, it was no better and no worse.
She also had run-ins with Gene Simmons, who had “an annoying way of looking up and down at my body” and reusing a chat line after he tried it on her, she writes. She describes him as “Dracula”. The two bonded when Holly “baffled” him with a question about the 1977 Italian horror film Suspiria after he said he knew everything and was a “human encyclopedia”.
One night, their friendship became something more when she hung out in his high-rise Manhattan apartment and they slept together.
She writes: “We both wanted what we wanted at the moment, and without much thought ended up in his giant bed.
“I pretty much missed it, and I’m sure he did. This is what I’m laughing at now and cringing at because I already slept with Ace. Rock’n’roll. lust. Opportunity. Stupid young puppies.
The Eighties was the age of big hair, big egos, and the mantra was “work hard, play harder” – but with some musicians, work rarely started.
While writing the lyrics for Rod Stewart’s 1986 hit Love Touch, Holly recalls that she couldn’t get the singer to focus and help.
She writes: “Instead of sharing ideas, Rod kept joking around and announcing that it was time to take another break. The one that touched your nose.
Ungrateful and poorly paid
She writes that as they got taller and taller in Holly’s home studio, she became frustrated and stopped working together because he didn’t do anything.
She tells Kristen Bell Tattoos: “It was the 80s, it was either sex or drugs or rock and roll – and there were more than two of them, we were all stuffing things up our noses. I wanted him to stop fooling around and I’m surprised I had the guts to tell him I’d finish it myself.”
But drugs weren’t Rod’s only distraction – Holly later turned down his flirtatious advances. While in his limousine with her, he asked, “Do you think I’m sexy?” is the title of his 1978 song. Holly writes how she responded, “You’re not my type and I’m not your type. I’m not blonde and my legs aren’t long enough.”
They never slept together and their friendship soured when Rod said that his 1986 track Love Touch, which Holly co-wrote, was “one of the dumbest” he sang. She replied that it was his biggest success in six years, when he placed 6th in the US.
She told Kristen Bell Tattoos that many years later, at the premiere of Tina: The Musical by Tina Turner in London’s West End, they reconciled, with Holly calling him “as hilarious and mischievous” as ever.
But her work has often been thankless and poorly paid, and some of her artists have won Grammy awards.
Her hits included Tina Turner’s (Simply) The Best, Invincible and Better Be Good To Me, which led to a long friendship that began in a rock and roll fashion.
Moments after meeting in a limousine near Heathrow Airport, she writes, Holly showed the singer her “sassy tattoos” after being asked, “Holly, do you have nice boobs?” In the foreword to Holly’s memoir, Tina acknowledged that The Best was “the song that carried me around the world” and was “a rare treasure – a universal anthem.” She wrote, “Holly, I’ve told you this before and I’ll say it again, you’re simply the best.”
In 1988, Holly was recognized as the best songwriter in a Rolling Stone magazine poll, and by 2013 she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Holly is proud to play her songs, but is disappointed that her dream of solo success never materialized.
She told Kristen Bell Tattoos: “My job is one of the best in the world, but gratitude is rare. Singers often deliberately perpetuate the myth that they wrote the song. I’m used to it and instead smile to myself whenever I hear a song I wrote play in the grocery store.
“I enjoy writing, I would do it whether I made a living from it or not, so in many ways I’m lucky.”
Indeed, Holly tells Kristen Bell Tattoos that she has always preferred “action and travel” over “final destination” – and it’s clear that her journey is unlike any other.
- Holly Knight’s I’m a Warrior: My Mad Life Making Hits and Rocking MTV in the 80s is published by Permuted Press and is available for pre-order for £19.99.
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