Once upon a time, Mary Tyler Moore owned a record company, headquartered in Nashville.
Yes…THAT Mary Tyler Moore.
Like Lucille Ball, Mary had built her own entertainment empire…which by the mid-1980s, had branched out to Nashville to open a record label.
Scott Borchetta, arguably the most powerful person in Nashville today, the man behind Big Machine, worked there. In fact, during MTM Records’ short existence, a number of future Music City movers and shakers worked at MTM.
Trisha Yearwood was the receptionist.
Their star was Holly Dunn.
It was 1986. Randy Travis had upended the entire Nashville establishment, providing a standard around which The Judds, George Strait and Reba McEntire would become superstars in their own right. Holly’s style fit right in with the New Tradition and “Daddy’s Hands” became her signature song.
Here are some of her follow-up hits…
“Someday” has an interesting history…not to mention that any song titled (It’s Always Gonna Be)”Someday” just plain makes a great theme for the hapless Cleveland Browns.
Sadly, MTM’s track record with music wasn’t nearly as successful as their track record with TV shows and movies. Take a look…
Mary Tyler Moore sold MTM Enterprises in 1988. Not long after, the new owners shut the label down…just as “Someday” was climbing the Country charts. Amazingly, even without any label to promote the song, “Someday” made it all the way to #11.
Holly’s contract was picked up by Warner Bros. Holly picked up the tempo and had her most successful period.
The guitars were louder, the style, a little more sassy. Holly Dunn 2.0 was cranking out the hits…until…
The 1990s really WERE a more innocent time. If Holly, her management, Warner Bros…anybody in Nashville thought “Maybe I Mean Yes” was an invitation for sexual assault, it NEVER would have been recorded, much less released as a single.
But feminist groups saw it differently.
While Holly’s oldies retained their popularity through the mid-nineties, there were no more new hits. Eventually she retired from recording to focus on painting.
This past summer, she was back in the news to share that she’d been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The prognosis wasn’t good, but Holly had said she was leaning on her family, friends and faith to get her through.
Today, we learned she’d lost her battle. Holly Dunn was 59.
Obituary from CBS Nashville affiliate WRKN.