In Memoriam: Holly Dunn (1957-2016)

According to news reports, Holly Dunn passed away yesterday (November 15, 2016) in hospice care, surrounded by family and friends.

Dunn rose to stardom in the late eighties, and scored a string of hits that lasted into the early years of the following decade.

Best known for her signature, breakthrough hit, “Daddy’s Hands,” that classic was her first of nine top ten hits released on her first two labels: MTM and Warner Bros.

Dunn won the CMA Horizon Award and ACM Top New Female Vocalist award in 1987, and topped the singles charts with “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me?” in 1989, and “You Really Had Me Going” in 1990. She gained headlines in 1991 for pulling her single, “Maybe I Mean Yes,” from the radio. While that song stopped at #48, its host collection, Milestones: Greatest Hits, went on to become her only gold album.

Dunn released nine studio albums, the most recent being Full Circle in 2003, and had focused on painting in her later years. Dunn was profiled as part of Country Universe’s 100 Greatest Women feature in 2008, ranking at #68.

Here are a few video highlights from Dunn’s career:

“Daddy’s Hands” (1987)

“Are You Ever Gonna Love Me?” (1989)

“There Goes My Heart Again” (1989)

“You Really Had Me Going” (1990)

“Maybe I Mean Yes” (1991)

“I am Who I am” (1995)


  1. I loved Holly Dunn. My favorite song by her was ‘Only When I Love’. A very sad day. My prayers go out to her family and loved ones. She was such a gift.

  2. If I understand right, she had been fighting ovarian cancer, very bravely. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a fight she could have won.

    Holly’s passing also reminds us (or should remind us) once again not only of how many people we’ve lost in the music world in 2016, but also of the fact that how few artists are willing to follow in their footsteps in terms of making music of lasting artistic value, and not just big time but short term commercial success.

  3. My earliest memories of Holly Dunn were on the radio. She was a DJ for a brief time on a morning show she co-hosted here in Detroit. Holly took time off of music and came to Detroit to join Jim Bosh on the “Holly & Jim in the Morning” show on our former country station 106.7 W4 Country. She was only at W4 Country for a year then left for whatever reason. RIP Holly Dunn.

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