Holly Dunn

August 22, 1957 - November 15, 2016

Holly Dunn Artistfacts

  • Born in San Antonio, Texas, Dunn began her music career as a songwriter and demo singer in Nashville for CBS Records and MTM Records. Along with her brother Chris Waters, she penned tunes for Marie Osmond, Louise Mandrell, and Cristy Lane.
  • Her first hit was "Daddy's Hands," a song she wrote as a Father's Day gift for her father, a preacher. Although she would have bigger hits than the #7 single, "Daddy's Hands" remains the most memorable. "I still get emails about it personally every day," she told us in 2016. "Still, 30 years later."
  • She earned two Grammy Award nominations for "Daddy's Hands": Best Country Vocal Performance - Female and Best Country & Western Song.
  • Her playful 1991 tune "Maybe I Mean Yes" stirred controversy when its ill-timed release coincided with TIME magazine's landmark issue about date rape. While advocates for rape victims were driving home the message "No Means No," they didn't appreciate Holly's breezy "Maybe I Mean Yes." Holly explained the song was meant capture the flirtatious banter between a man and woman who are first dating, but she pulled the record in response to the controversy.
  • She retired from the music scene in 2003 to focus on her passion for art (her mother was also a painter). She opened the Holly Dunn Art Song Gallery, part of the Peña+Dunn Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • She was a long-standing member of the Grand Ole Opry but lost her membership after retiring from music.
  • She died of ovarian cancer at a hospice facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, less than a year after being diagnosed.


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