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Holly Dunn passes away at 59

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 – Holly Dunn, 59, best known for her mid-'80s hit "Daddy's Hands," passed away this morning in Albuquerque, N.M. of ovarian cancer, according to Nashville TV station WSM.

Dunn enjoyed two number one hits: "Are You Ever Gonna Love Me" and "You Really Had Me Going." She enjoyed eight songs that went top 10 between 1986 and 1990.

In March, Dunn said she was battling ovarian cancer and had undergone treatments.

Dunn was born Aug. 22, 1957 in San Antonio. She started performing in high school and college. She also wrote songs with her brother Chris Waters, who would have his own songwriting career. After graduating Abilene Christian University , she moved to Nashville, working as a demo singer and a songwriter at CBS and then MTM Records. Louise Mandrell had a top 10 hit in 1984 with a song Dunn wrote with Waters, "I'm Not Through Loving You Yet."

Dunn signed with MTM, a label started by actress Mary Tyler Moore, as a recording artist. Three singles failed to make much of a dent, but "Daddy's Hands," did, going to number 7 in 1986. The song, which Dunn wrote, was about the love of a father with the opening lines "I remember daddy's hands folded silently in prayer / And reachin' out to hold me, when I had a nightmare / You could read quite a story in the callous' and lines / Years of work and worry had left their mark behind."

Dunn recorded two more albums for MTM, "Cornerstone" in 1987 and "Across the Rio Grande" in 1988. "Cornerstone" contained 3 top 10 hits "Love Someone Like Me," "Only When I Love" and "Strangers Again."

After the demise of MTM, Dunn shifted to Warner in 1989. She would go onto release three albums for Warner, starting with "The Blue Rose of Texas" that year. The disc contained her first chart topper, "Are You Ever Gonna Love Me," written by Dunn with Waters and Tom Shapiro. "There Goes My Heart Again" also was a big hit. That same year, Dunn became a member of the Grand Ole Opry

"You Really Had Me Going," filled with twangy guitars and a bit of a rockabilly sound, was her second and final number one hit. The cut was on her 1990 disc, "Heart Full of Love." Dunn, Waters and Shapiro also wrote "You Really Had Me Going."

Dunn encountered backlash to a single on her greatest hits package, "Milestones: Greatest Hits." Some thought "Maybe I Mean Yes" condoned date rape. Dunn asked the single to be withdrawn. Dunn had one more release for Warner, "Getting It Dunn," before leaving the label in 1993.

Dunn surfaced on River North with two more albums, "Live and Love and All the Stages" in 1995 and ""Leave One Bridge Standing" in 1997.

Dunn got into the radio business as well, becoming a DJ at a Detroit station, WWWW. Later, she moved to New Mexico to pursue art, leaving the music business for good.

CD reviews for Holly Dunn

Leave One Bridge Standing
Talk about a blown opportunity. When Holly Dunn got dropped from her major label and subsequently signed up with an indy, here was the chance to record some real kick-butt-and-take-names, no-apologies, country music. That may still happen, but not on this album, an uneven effort, laden with generic-sounding country rock, the likes of which you can hear on the FM dial any time of day. If you like drums, you'll love this CD. They eclipse everything else here save Dunn herself. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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