Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Holly Dunn, “You Really Had Me Going”

“You Really Had Me Going”

Holly Dunn

Written by Holly Dunn, Ben Shapiro, and Chris Waters

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

November 17, 1990

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

November 2, 1990

A promising star from the eighties has her final No. 1 hit in 1990.

The Road to No. 1

Holly Dunn’s dual talents as a singer and a songwriter were evident early on in her career.  After playing in bands in high school and college, Dunn moved to Nashville alongside her brother, Chris Waters.  Soon, both of them were successful songwriters, co-penning songs for Cristy Lane and Louise Mandrell.   Dunn caught the attention of MTM Records, who signed her to a deal and released her debut album, Holly Dunn.

That first set had two minor chart hits before Dunn broke through with the third single, “Daddy’s Hands,” which went top ten and became Dunn’s signature song.  Dunn was named the ACM Top New Famale Vocalist and won the CMA Horizon Award, while continuing to achieve top ten hits.

Two more albums from MTM produced multiple top ten singles, but MTM Records went bankrupt and closed, leaving Dunn a free agent.  She signed with Warner Bros. and released her fourth studio album, The Blue Rose of Texas, which featured her first No. 1 hit, “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me,” and another top five with “There Goes My Heart Again.”

Dunn’s fifth studio album, Heart Full of Love, had a rough start, with lead single “My Anniversary of Being a Fool” falling well short of the top 40.  But Dunn bounced back with the second single, which would become her final No. 1 hit.

The No. 1

“You Really Had Me Going” had more in common with where the nineties women would take the genre than it did with Dunn’s earlier hits.  Irreverent and fiercely confident, Dunn acknowledges that a guy put one over on her, but she’s not going to stick around and give him a chance to do it again.

“You really had me going, baby, and now I’m gone.”

It’s a fresh and engaging record that is one of Dunn’s better efforts.

The Road From No. 1 

Dunn demonstrated with this record that she could’ve been a contender, but like many of her contemporaries, she would soon be pushed aside for the new artists that were breaking through.  Her next single, “Heart Full of Love,” barely dented the top twenty.   Dunn then released Milestones: Greatest Hits in 1991, which would become her only gold record.  But its lead single, “Maybe I Mean Yes,” quickly caused controversy, with its attempt to play hard to get sending a troubling message about consent.   Dunn personally called radio stations to ask them to pull the record, but the damage was done.  Her future releases would all fall short of the top forty.

By the late nineties, Dunn was a radio and television personality, hosting a local morning show and co-hosting Opry Backstage on TNN.  Dunn retired from the music industry in the early 2000s, closing out her recording career with a gospel album, Full Circle.  Dunn turned her attention to art, selling paintings with a southwestern theme on her website.

Dunn was a quiet pioneer for LGBT country artists, and she married her longtime partner, who was by her side until her premature death from ovarian cancer in 2016. Dunn’s “Daddy’s Hands” remains a popular country standard to this day.

“You Really Had Me Going” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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4 Comments

  1. I really like this song and a well deserved number one! Id agree with the rating too. “Daddy’s Hands”, this song, and ” There Goes My Heart Again” we’re the only Holly Dunn songs I remember being played on our radio station growing up. I got her Greatest Hits album when I turned 18 and fell in love with her other hits long after her commercial peak. I can’t believe radio passed on ” No One Takes The Train”. That may be my favorite of all her singles.

  2. “You proved, you’re good with a lie. But are you that good with goodbye?”

    Man, what a great line.

  3. This is the Holly Dunn song I remember hearing the most during my earliest years of listening to the radio. However, I also remember hearing and enjoying “Daddy’s Hands” “Only When I Love,” “Love Someone Like Me,” “That’s What Your Love Does To Me,” and “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” throughout the early 90’s, and most of those songs made it on to at least one of my tapes. Like other artists who came out around the same time (Randy Travis, Ricky Van Shelton, Kathy Mattea, The Judds, etc.), her music always takes me back to my early childhood, since a lot of it was still getting good recurrent airplay. Like RVS, she’s another artist who I wish had more years of success in the 90’s. It’s too bad that she never recovered after the whole “Maybe I Mean Yes” controversy.

    Besides her more traditional sound, another thing I like about Holly’s music is the rockabilly influence in some of her songs, with this one being a prime example. That opening guitar is so cool, and I always really liked that high note she hits at the end. Even in early 1993, this one was still a big recurrent, and I have it on a tape I recorded from that time. I also remember really liking the title track to this album (Heart Full Of Love) when it came out, and I was surprised to learn that it peaked so low, since I remember hearing it a lot on one of our stations then.

    Needless to say, I was pretty sad when I learned about her passing in 2016. :( Another great artist gone too soon.

    BTW, it’s a shame that so little of her 80’s & early 90’s albums are on Spotify. Luckily, I have most all of them on cd, except for a couple of the rare MTM ones.

  4. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this song and most of Dunn’s radio hits. I never explored her albums. Just one of those strong role players that made this transitional era of country so deep and compelling.

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