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Achy Breaky Heart

by

Billy Ray Cyrus



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Written by the Country songwriter and performer Don Von Tress, this was a remake of a 1991 song by the Country act The Marcy Brothers, titled "Don't Tell My Heart." That original version had the lyrics: "Don't tell my heart, my achy, breakin' heart..." (thanks, David - Long Beach, CA)
This best represents the Country music craze in the early '90s. As the audience for "Old Country" artists like Willie Nelson and George Strait waned, younger listeners turned to "New Country," which was heavily produced and contained pop melodies. "Achy Breaky Heart" led the charge, crossing over to Top 40 radio and becoming a huge hit. Many people hated it and blamed Cyrus for desecrating Country music, but it led the way for artists like Shania Twain and Faith Hill, who had massive pop success with Country songs.
Born and raised in Flatwoods, Kentucky, Cyrus first worked as a car salesman there, and dreamed of being a professional baseball player. He made his singing debut in father's Gospel group.
This song became the most popular and prominent of the United States line dancing craze of the early '90s. It spawned a dance called "The Achy Breaky," which became very popular in Country dance bars.
The album Some Gave All went to #1 for 17 weeks based on the success of this song. The 17 week run at #1 is a record for a debut artist.
Cyrus claims he was too bashful to get on the floor at high school dances. He clearly came out of his shell.
Cyrus was signed to Mercury Records in 1990 thanks to some help from a friend he'd made, Grand Ole Opry star Del Reeves.
Despite not having any more hits, Cyrus has still enjoyed commercial success. His second album debuted at #3 and went platinum. When his singing career stalled, he turned to acting roles, including a part in the 2001 movie Mulholland Drive. Billy Ray's daughter, Miley Cyrus, found success starring in the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana. She plays a girl who is secretly a pop star by night. Billy Ray is also in the show, playing her manager. (thanks, Caitlin - Upper Township, NJ)
This was the first million-selling Country single since "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in 1983.
Weird Al Yankovic did a spoof of this called "Achy Breaky Song," which made fun of the artist and the song. (thanks, Brandon - Seattle, WA)
In Billy Ray Cyrus' 2006 song "I Want My Mullet Back," the riff to this song is sampled in the guitar solo. (thanks, Vincent - Fayetteville, AR)
A rap reworking of the song by Buck 22 titled "Achy Breaky 2" entered the Hot 100 in 2014. Cyrus contributed vocals to this new version as well and also appeared in the video.
Billy Ray Cyrus
More Billy Ray Cyrus songs
More songs from 1 hit wonders
More songs that have their own dance
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Comments (29):

This is a really cute song....it just seems to me he got a bad deal over it. He was (is) a huge talent, but I don't feel he got all the credit he deserves....and by the way, "Cameron"....I LOVE the song. I think it's fun and catchy and awesome. Seriously. :)
- Erika, West band, WI
Gotta love that mullet. Seriously, Billy Ray is a hugely talented individual.
- Zappy, Geelong, Australia
i can't stand him now thanks to miley
- Dara, Barnesville, OH
The Oak Ridge Boys turned down this song before Billy Ray recorded it.
- John, Nashville, TN
I love this song! I would love to know the achy breaky.
- Jennifer Harris, Grand Blanc, MI
I was at a radio studio at a college and I heard the Chipmunks version. I like them both. Eventhough this song degrades country music, yet at the same time it was hilarious and fun to listen to especially in small hick bars.
- Eugene, Minneapolis, MN
Poor Billy Ray- had one silly hit and has spent the next 20 years trying to convince everyone how 'deep' his music really is.Now he is horning in on his daughters success and forcing his way back into the spotlight .Just go away Billy Ray....you got lucky once...it wont happen again.
- Mark, byrdstown, TN
Billy Ray was an unknown beforethis. The music company who owned the rights to the Marcy Brothers' original, put out a copmpany memo, offering a prize to someone who could come up with a way to promo the song into a #1 hit -- I think it was a janitor who came up with the idea of associating a line dance with the song (line dancing was really big then), then the studio looked for a good-looking singer to sing it; somebody they could own cheaply, & away it went!
- Cyberpope, Richmond, Canada
I'm adapting this song to the kazoo.
- MusicMama, New York, NY
A version of this song is played in the movie "Crank".
- Eighteen, Marysville, MI
I hate this song with a passion.. I loved it when The Marcy Brothers sang it, and I hate Billy Ray Cyrus for steeling it.
- Diana, Oroville , CA
This song annoyed me when it was popoular it still annoys me today, and I used to go to the roller rink and skate to it.
- Sara, Traverse City, MI
Have any of you guys seen that episode of South Park with this song in it? IT IS HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Wilson, Atlanta, GA
This is the anthem of hideous mullets everywhere.
- K, Toronto, Canada
"New Country" is like one of those bad stains on the music world that never goes away and only gets worse the more you try to rub it out. Come to think of it, you could also say the same for grunge.
- Tony, Topeka, KS
Billy was once quoted on saying he was happy about what achey breaky heart had done for the world... i dont no but after saying something like that arnt you abliged to say "yah huh"
- Randy, New Waterford, Canada
This was also released as a country gospel song by a group called The Maharrey's in the 90's. The words were of course changed including the fantastic line . . . "Let Jesus heal your heart, you achy breaky heart!"
- PROVIDENCE, Tahlequah, OK
Come on everyone this is one of those pile on songs everyone lines up to tell anyone who will listen how "terrible" this song or that song is. If you like it admit it and the hell with anyone who puts you down its obvious this song sold. It didn't make #1 but Disco Duck did and CCR never had a #1 song so go figure you like what you like.
- Alan, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
The worst memories I have from this song are having to listen to it in Spanish at some "parties" I have attended -- where people actually danced to it -- and I don't mean in the 90's where it was semi-acceptable to like this song, but more like 02' where it was no longer acceptable to like this song at all.
- KEITH, Kyle, TX
I found a list of the 50 worst songs of this century and this one was like, number 5.
- Kelli, Cedar Rapids, IA
Mark has the video location wrong. It was filmed at Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, KY (Flatwoods is a suburb of Ashland). I wasn't at the filming, but I recognize the interior from going to concerts and plays there my whole life. The history of the Paramount, specifically mentioning this video being shot there, is on their web site: www.paramountartscenter.com/index.cfm?page=history
- Scott, Ashland, KY
I actually like the song! But then again, I do have a mullet...
- Joey, Maffra, Australia
The video for this one hit wonder was filmed at the now-demolished Greenville (S.C.) Memorial Auditorium. It was razed in the 1990s to make way for the much larger Bi-Lo Center.
- Mark, Falls Church, VA
This has got to be the most annyoing song ever. I don't know of anyone, alive or dead, who can stand it.
- Cameron, Cairns, Australia
He was in a band called Sly Dog which played at alot of bars and dances in the Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky Tri-State area before he made it big.
- Mike, Cincinnati, OH
Do you realize you guys just mentioned "mullets, bagpipes, and hoedown" in the last three posts? Oh my.........
- Tom, Alma, GA
I danced this in a Valentine's Day hoedown in my elementary school!
- Tiffany, Dover, FL
I have a friend that can play this on the bagpipes
- Deana, Indianapolis, IN
Mullet craze...
- Deanna, Washington, IL
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