Holly Dunn

February 19, 2019 - 243 views
Genre country, female vocalist, female vocalists, country folk, Alt-country

Holly Suzette Dunn (August 22, 1957 – November 15, 2016) was an American country music singer and songwriter.

The sister of songwriter Chris Waters, Dunn recorded for MTM Records between 1985-1988, Warner Bros. Records between 1988–93, and River North Records between 1995-97. She released ten albums and charted nineteen singles plus two duets on the Hot Country Songs charts. Of her single releases, two — "Are You Ever Gonna Love Me" and "You Really Had Me Going" — went to number 1. Dunn retired from music in 2003.

While attending high school, Dunn performed in a band called Freedom Folk Singers, which toured the Southern United States. She attended Abilene Christian University and performed in a school sponsored group called The Hilltoppers. Dunn also wrote songs with her brother, Chris Waters, who would later become a prolific songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee. One of their collaborations, "Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind", was recorded by Cristy Lane. After graduating college, Dunn moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she worked as a demo singer before both she and Waters became songwriters at CBS Records, and then MTM Records. Louise Mandrell had a top 10 hit in 1984 with "I'm Not Through Loving You Yet", which the two co-wrote. By 1985, Dunn was signed to a record contract with MTM.

Dunn's first two releases — "Playing for Keeps" and "My Heart Holds On" — both failed to make the Top 40 on the Hot Country Songs charts, while "Two Too Many" peaked at number 39. Her first Top 10 hit came in 1986, when "Daddy's Hands" went to number 7. The song was included on her self-titled debut, from which it served as the final single. Following this song, she sang guest vocals on Michael Martin Murphey's Top 5 hit "A Face in the Crowd", from his album Americana. Her second MTM album, Cornerstone, produced three straight Top 10 hits in "Love Someone Like Me", "Only When I Love", and "Strangers Again". Across the Rio Grande in 1988 included the singles "That's What Your Love Does to Me" and "(It's Always Gonna Be) Someday", before MTM Records filed for bankruptcy and closed.

In 1989, Dunn moved to Warner Bros. Records' Nashville division. Her first release for the label, The Blue Rose of Texas, produced her first number 1 hit in "Are You Ever Gonna Love Me", followed by "There Goes My Heart Again" at number 4. The latter was co-written by a then-unknown Joe Diffie, who also sang backing vocals on it. She also sang on Kenny Rogers' late 1990 hit "Maybe", from his album Something Inside So Strong.

Dunn's second Warner Bros. album, Heart Full of Love, was released in 1990. Although its lead single "My Anniversary for Being a Fool" failed to make top 40, the followup "You Really Had Me Going" became her second and final number 1 hit, while the title track was a top 20 hit.

In 1991, Dunn released her first greatest hits package, Milestones: Greatest Hits. It included the new release "Maybe I Mean Yes", which became controversial due to some listeners interpreting the song as condoning date rape. As a result, Dunn asked for the single to be withdrawn from rotation. Her final Warner Bros. release, Getting It Dunn, failed to produce a top 40 hit, and she exited the label in 1993.

Dunn signed to River North Records in 1995 and released two albums for the label: Life and Love and All the Stages in 1995 and Leave One Bridge Standing two years later. The former produced her final chart entry in "I Am Who I Am". Shortly before the release of Leave One Bridge Standing, she joined country music radio station WWWW in Detroit, Michigan as morning show co-host. It was not her first time behind the radio mike, as she had served as a DJ during her college years. However, the decision forced her to give up touring for a time. Later, she co-hosted Opry Backstage on The Nashville Network in 2001-02.

In 2003, Dunn announced her retirement from her musical career to devote full-time to her other passion, art. She released her final album, "Full Circle", which was her first gospel album, in 2003. Her paintings deal primarily with subjects from the southwestern United States, and are available through the Peña+Dunn Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In March 2016, Dunn was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She died at age 59 on November 15, 2016, at a hospice facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Year Title US Country US 200 RIAA
1986 Holly Dunn 29
1987 Cornerstone 22
1988 Across the Rio Grande 26
1989 The Blue Rose of Texas 30
1990 Heart Full of Love 47
1991 Milestones: Greatest Hits 25 162 Gold
1992 Getting It Dunn
1995 Life and Love and All the Stages
1997 Leave One Bridge Standing
2003 Full Circle

Year Song US Country Album
1985 "Playing For Keeps" 62
1985 "My Heart Holds On" 64
1986 "Two Too Many" 39 Holly Dunn
1986 "Daddy's Hands" 7 Holly Dunn
1987 "Love Someone Like Me" 2 Cornerstone
1987 "Only When I Love" 4 Cornerstone
1988 "Strangers Again" 7 Cornerstone
1988 "That's What Your Love Does To Me" 5 Across the Rio Grande
1988 "(It's Always Gonna Be) Someday" 11 Across the Rio Grande
1989 "Are You Ever Gonna Love Me" 1 The Blue Rose of Texas
1989 "There Goes My Heart Again" 4 The Blue Rose of Texas
1990 "My Anniversary For Being A Fool" 60 Heart Full of Love
1990 "You Really Had Me Going" 1 Heart Full of Love
1991 "Heart Full Of Love" 19 Heart Full of Love
1991 "Maybe I Mean Yes" 48 Milestones: Greatest Hits
1991 "No One Takes The Train Anymore" - Milestones: Greatest Hits
1992 "No Love Have I" 67 Getting It Dunn
1992 "As Long As You Belong To Me" 68 Getting It Dunn
1992 "Golden Years" 51 Getting It Dunn
1995 "I Am Who I Am" 56 Life and Love and All the Stages
1995 "Cowboys Are My Weakness" - Life and Love and All the Stages
1996 "It's Not About Blame" - Life and Love and All the Stages
1997 "Leave One Bridge Standing" - Leave One Bridge Standing


Top Tracks

Daddy's Hands 1

Daddy's Hands

You Really Had Me Going 2

You Really Had Me Going

Love Someone Like Me 3

Love Someone Like Me

Are You Ever Gonna Love Me 4

Are You Ever Gonna Love Me

There Goes My Heart Again 5

There Goes My Heart Again

(it's Always Gonna Be) Someday 6

(it's Always Gonna Be) Someday

Only When I Love 7

Only When I Love

Strangers Again 8

Strangers Again

Heart Full of Love 9

Heart Full of Love

Just as I Am 10

Just as I Am

Top Albums

Milestones: Greatest Hits
Milestones: Greatest Hits
Milestones- Greatest Hits
Milestones- Greatest Hits
Heart Full of Love
Heart Full of Love


Log in to comment