Many country music fans have wondered if Holly Dunn, the singer of hits such as “Daddy’s Hands” and “You Really Had Me Going”, was related to Ronnie Dunn, one half of the legendary duo Brooks & Dunn. The two share a last name and a musical talent, but are they actually family? Here’s what we found out.
Holly Dunn: A Brief Biography
Holly Suzette Dunn was born on August 22, 1957, in San Antonio, Texas. Her father was a Church of Christ preacher and her mother was a landscape painter. She had a brother, Chris Waters, who also became a successful songwriter and producer in Nashville.
Holly Dunn started singing in high school and college, where she attended Abilene Christian University. She moved to Nashville in the early 1980s and worked as a demo singer and songwriter. She co-wrote “I’m Not Through Loving You Yet” for Louise Mandrell, which became a top 10 hit in 1984.
Dunn signed with MTM Records in 1985 and released her self-titled debut album the following year. Her third single from the album, “Daddy’s Hands”, was a tribute to her father and became her signature song. It reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and earned her nominations for Grammy and CMA awards.
Dunn continued to record and chart hits throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, including two No. 1 singles: “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” and “You Really Had Me Going”. She also collaborated with Michael Martin Murphey on “A Face in the Crowd”, which peaked at No. 4 in 1987.
Dunn switched labels several times in her career, moving from MTM to Warner Bros. in 1988, then to River North in 1995. Her last studio album, Full Circle, was released in 2003. She retired from music shortly after and pursued other interests, such as painting and radio hosting.
Dunn was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016 and died on November 14 of that year at the age of 59.
Ronnie Dunn: A Brief Biography
Ronald Gene Dunn was born on June 1, 1953, in Coleman, Texas. His father was an oil worker and his mother was a waitress. He attended 13 schools in his first 12 years of education and studied psychology at Abilene Christian University.
Ronnie Dunn started singing in bands and clubs in Texas and Oklahoma in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also worked as a music and youth minister at a Baptist church. He moved to Nashville in 1983 and signed with Churchill/MCA Records. He released two solo singles that failed to chart: “It’s Written All Over Your Face” in 1983 and “She Put the Sad in All His Songs” in 1984.
Dunn met Kix Brooks in 1990 through songwriter Tim DuBois, who suggested they form a duo. They signed with Arista Nashville and released their first album, Brand New Man, in 1991. The album spawned four No. 1 singles: “Brand New Man”, “My Next Broken Heart”, “Neon Moon”, and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”.
Brooks & Dunn became one of the most successful acts in country music history, releasing 12 studio albums, two greatest hits albums, and a Christmas album. They sold over 30 million records, won over 80 awards, including two Grammys and four CMA Entertainer of the Year awards, and had 20 No. 1 singles on Billboard.
Brooks & Dunn announced their temporary split in 2009 and performed their farewell tour in 2010. They reunited in 2014 for a residency show with Reba McEntire in Las Vegas. They also released a new album, Reboot, in 2019, featuring collaborations with contemporary country artists.
Ronnie Dunn also pursued a solo career after the duo’s hiatus. He released his self-titled debut album in 2011, which included the top 10 hit “Bleed Red”. He followed it with Peace, Love, and Country Music in 2014, Tattooed Heart in 2016, and Re-Dunn in 2020.
Dunn was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame along with Brooks in 2019.
Are Holly Dunn and Ronnie Dunn Related?
According to our research, Holly Dunn and Ronnie Dunn are not related by blood or marriage. They both have different parents and siblings, as well as different backgrounds and origins.
The only connection we could find between them is that they both attended Abilene Christian University, but at different times. Holly Dunn graduated in 1979, while Ronnie Dunn left the university in 1975.
There is also no evidence that they ever collaborated or performed together, although they both shared the stage with other country stars throughout their careers.
Therefore, we can conclude that Holly Dunn and Ronnie Dunn are not related, and that their last name is just a coincidence. They are both talented and respected artists in their own right, and have made significant contributions to country music.