Maybe I Mean Yes

Album: Milestones (1991)


  • Dunn is sending some mixed signals on this song, but they're perfectly clear to her: when she says no she means maybe, but maybe she means yes. Her poor suitor has every right to be confused.
  • Dunn wrote this uptempo fun track with Chris Waters (her brother) and Tom Shapiro. Produced by the lady herself and Shapiro, it was put out on the Warner Brothers label, her second single of 1991, but three weeks after its release, Dunn asked radio stations and video programs to stop playing it after it came under fire from feminists and related agenda-driven special interest groups. Dunn issued a statement to the effect that she didn't want it to be misunderstood.

    Interestingly, according to a report by Kate Meyers and Jeffrey Resner for Entertainment Weekly, WUBE of Cincinnati conducted a listeners' poll and reported: "We took well over 100 phone calls, and 90 percent asked us to continue playing the song... of the responses, 70 percent were female."

    At least one person suggested that Dunn's request was a cynical publicity stunt! >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • In our interview with Holly Dunn, she explained how the song idea came from a bit of playful banter from an old Cary Grant film. "We were just coming from a totally lighthearted, flirty thought," Dunn said. "Almost an old-school relationship between men and women with that old-fashioned, flirty game-playing kind of thing that happens sometimes." She didn't even consider a different connotation until the single was released concurrently with an issue of TIME magazine that exposed the growing problem of date rape. In that context, "Maybe I Mean Yes" is an unwelcome response to the message "no means no."

    "I look back on that and think, 'How could I?' Because I was a fairly feminist-type thinker and still am. How could I have been so unplugged from the subject matter to miss that?"


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

16 Songs With a Heartbeat

16 Songs With a HeartbeatSong Writing

We've heard of artists putting their hearts into their music, but some take it literally.

Colbie Caillat

Colbie CaillatSongwriter Interviews

Since emerging from MySpace with her hit "Bubbly," Colbie has become a top songwriter, even crafting a hit with Taylor Swift.

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Jon Oliva of Trans-Siberian OrchestraSongwriter Interviews

Writing great prog metal isn't easy, especially when it's for 60 musicians.

Zakk Wylde

Zakk WyldeSongwriter Interviews

When he was playing Ozzfest with Black Label Society, a kid told Zakk he was the best Ozzy guitarist - Zakk had to correct him.

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman Jack

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman JackSong Writing

The story of the legendary lupine DJ through the songs he inspired.

Tom Johnston from The Doobie Brothers

Tom Johnston from The Doobie BrothersSongwriter Interviews

The Doobies guitarist and lead singer, Tom wrote the classics "Listen To The Music," "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove."