Born Rolf Peter Knigge in Hamburg, West Germany, Knigge began his career initially as a textile businessman and fashion designer. In 1974 he received a record contract with Hans Bertram, who rechristened him "Tony Holiday". His first two singles met with little success. Holiday's breakthrough came in 1977 with the German recording of "Tanze Samba mit Mir" ("Dance the Samba With Me") in 1977. The song quickly became a hit in both Germany and Austria, peaking at #4 on the German music charts and reaching the Top 20 on the Austrian music charts. In 1979 he participated with the title "Zuviel tequila, zuviel schöne mädchen" ("Too Much Tequila, Too Many Beautiful Girls") in the German finals for the Eurovision Song Contest and the song finished in ninth place.
Between 1975 and 1984, Holiday would perform eleven times on the popular German music television program ZDF-Hitparade.
In 1980, Holiday scored a second European hit with "Nie mehr allein sein" which reached the number 15 on the German music charts . The song was a reworking of "Sun of Jamaica" by the German band Goombay Dance Band. Holiday subsequently hosted several music programs on television and released several more singles throughout the 1980s.
Holiday led a clandestine homosexual life and died in 1990 of AIDS in his native Hamburg at the age of 39.
In 2000, Tony Holiday's single "Tanze Samba mit Mir" was featured in the François Ozon directed film "Gouttes d'eau sur pierres brûlantes" ("Water Drops on Burning Rocks"), an adaptation of the play Tropfen auf heisse Steine by German filmmaker and writer Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The song subsequently appeared on the film's soundtrack.
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