re-imagining palisades park

Five years ago Jimmy Dunne, along with four Palisadians, dreamed of re-imagining a dilapidated upper Palisades Park — and creating a vibrant, stunning home for all Palisadians.

A town home that reflected the values so dear to all in one of America’s small-town treasures, Pacific Palisades.

With the extraordinary will of Bill McGregor, Bob Harter, Jay McCann and Rob Jernigan, this team led the dream to fruition.

Donations from so many organizations and individuals will forever be in the soil of one of Palisades new treasures.

With final touches taking place, the doors to Veterans Gardens will open when the town is comfortable coming together in its new park.

Here’s a sneak preview of a short video — stay tuned for the Grand Opening!

“america (lives in me)”

Bike riding and taking long walks around town, I’ve never seen such a beautiful outpouring of people saying “hello.” We’re all drawn together and counting on each other in these unique days impacting our families, our towns and our country.

I wrote this with one of my favorite songwriters, Amanda McBroom.

In the most challenging of times, we discover who we are…

“i’m gonna wash my hands”

Many moons ago, the first episode I wrote on “Happy Days” was where Potsie (Anson Williams) was struggling for an upcoming biology test on the circulatory system, and Fonzie suggested to write a song about the circulatory system to remember it easier.

Ron Howard, Henry Winker and the cast all sang “Pumps Your Blood,” with everyone playing beakers and other ‘instruments’ from the classroom. We had a blast — and it was a big hit in the ratings.

A few days before that, I played the song I wrote for Anson in his dressing room. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Over his dead body I’m singing that thing on national television.”

None of us would have guessed the song would take on its own life; as the American Heart Association Theme, as an award-winning commercial for St. Joseph’s Aspirin, in the “Waiting for Superman” documentary, and with grammar school to college students making countless videos to remember the circulatory system.

Anson called a few days ago.

He said little kids are anxious about this virus — and need to feel empowered. To be comforted to see a path. He suggested that I write new words to this song.

I wrote “I’m Gonna Wash My Hands,” Anson sang the vocal at his house – and we put together a video…

I hope you share it with some fabulous kids & parents you know!


‘the shepherd’s story’ illustrated book

Jimmy Dunne inked a book deal with award-winning Loyola Press to release “The Shepherd’s Story,” a children’s holiday book scheduled for a 2020 holiday release.

In The Shepherd’s Story (to the familiar rhythm of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas), we meet a young, lovable shepherd who is down on his luck — on the very night before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.  We follow the shepherd’s journey that night where he discovers baby Jesus in the arms of his loving parents.  In imagining the difference one child can make in the world, the young shepherd sees the promise and the wonder of life.

The book will be available in books stores all across America.

The book is based on work Jimmy Dunne wrote — which went viral and has been read/performed in schools and churches around the country.

jimmy dunne reimagines smu music

SMU has engaged Inspire in a sweeping music initiative to reimagine recordings of its fantastic Fight Song, its Alma Mater, and its School Anthem.

Inspire will create new recordings that will reinvigorate these extraordinary university assets, that will permeate every aspect of university life.

These recordings will also be meaningful fundraising tools — emotionally branding the uniqueness and heart of the university.

Inspire will also create a Music Library of its Songbook — to be repurposed in every online medium and live application imaginable.

Visit the SMU Songbook Library at:





Right before Christmas, my mom turned 90.

She may live alone in a condominium complex for seniors, but she couldn’t be anything farther from ‘alone.’

Less than a mile away are 5 of her 7 kids, dozens of grandkids, great grandkids – and a town chock-full of friends that absolutely adore her.

I talked to her yesterday on the phone; she just got back home after being in the town’s hospital for two nights because of a blood count issue.

All of us seven kids didn’t like it one bit that she was going in the hospital.  Folks over 90 don’t seem to always check out when they go to a hospital.

Halfway across the country, I asked her how it was in the hospital.

My Mom said, her exact words… “it was so fun and jolly.”

Mom said, with great enthusiasm, like she just got back from a fabulous weekender at a Rosewood Hotel, that “her room was spectacular and roomy, the chicken pot pie was just fantastic, and the service – just out of this world.”

Now, truth be told, my mom going into the La Grange Hospital isn’t exactly checking in to a place full of strangers.  The administrators, the doctors, the nurses…  I’d bet the ranch, with few exceptions, they all either played on a sports team with a Dunne, were coached by a Dunne – or made out with a Dunne.

So I’m sure there was a lot of love swimming around in the air in her room.

My mom summed up her visit to me, “It was such a great couple of days. I can’t wait to go back.”

That, in a nutshell, is my mom.

Chooses to walk on the ‘sunny side of the street.’  It’s a choice we all get to make.  My mom always, always chooses the sunny side.

It doesn’t matter to my Mom that she’s had very significant back and knee issues. She can’t wait to chat with all of her zillion pals at lunch, or put on her gloves for her boxing class, or watch “Wheel of Fortune” and bark back to her TV with answers, or go cheer on her 7 millionth soccer match, music recital or school play of a grandkid.

If I woke up one day and the 70 million moms in America were all lined up in a big long row, and I got to pick the one I wanted to have as my mom – no doubt about it, I’m picking Joanie Dunne.

I’m picking Joanie Dunne to mother me, to inspire me, to let me know when I’m steering off my course.

She still does all three.

This past Christmas Eve, about 40 of us Dunnes were at my sister Alison’s house.

After so much fun sprinkled with snappy cocktails and too many delicious meatballs and pig-in-a-blankets, we all settled in Alison’s big Midwest family room stuffed with shanty Irishman talking too loud, laughing too hard, and drinking more than we should.

I kept watching my mom sitting off to the side in big chair, as everyone was opening presents.  A pile was building under my mom’s feet. She could have cared less what was in her presents.

It’s because she was looking at her presents; in the eyes of every single one of us in that room.

I think she was looking around that room thinking about her husband of 60 years — who I know she misses so much, especially in moments like this.

Probably wondering if he was in that room somehow. Knowing how he would be right in the thick of the smack-talking going on in the next room in the Dunne Family Ping Pong Doubles Championships.  Knowing he’d love the moaning and groaning of all the losers when this year’s “Pet of the Year” was announced.  He’d be mocking the trying-too-hard matching outfits in the ‘best-dressed contest’ in our family’s bottomless appetite for anything you can possibly compete in.

I think she was imagining that without the two of them — that there would be no party.  No seven kids.  No grandkids.  No great grandkids.

Her present was that her seven kids absolutely loved and respected each other.  That many of her grandkids’ best friends were right there in that room.  And that everyone in that room was so proud and so happy to be one of the Dunnes.

That was her present. A present she could reopen, over and over again, the rest of her life.

Like a film scene, I think she was dialing out the sound in that room, only hearing the timeless poet’s voices in the melodic, Christmas classics trickling out of the speakers on Alison’s bookshelf — reminding my mom of the wonder and beauty of it all.

May you have the precious gift of a beautiful mother that shaped your journey.

Mom, whenever you want, we’ll get you some chicken pot pie take-out from the hospital.  Please don’t go visit there again for a long, long time.

Happy 90 years, Mom.

90 down — and 20 to go.