Achy Breaky Heart

Album: Some Gave All (1992)
Charted: 3 4

Songfacts®:

  • 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..." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    David - Long Beach, CA
  • This song 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 had slick production and pop melodies.

    "Achy Breaky Heart" led the charge, crossing over to Top 40 radio and becoming a huge hit. Purists 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 ubiquitous in country dance bars.
  • Thanks to this song, the album Some Gave All went to #1 for 17 weeks - a record for a debut artist. One artist that was held off the top spot by Billy Ray was Megadeth, whose Countdown to Extinction had to settle for #2. The group's rather impolitic leader Dave Mustaine was not pleased; he griped to The Onion A.V. Club: "All those fat f--kin' housewives in the Midwest, and this guy with this funny haircut, and that song, it just resonated with the American people and people bought into it, and there was no shaking it. His song was a novelty."

    The song may have been a novelty, but it made the Some Gave All album the best seller of 1992.
  • 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.
  • Although he never came close to an "Achy" style hit again, Billy Ray Cyrus went on to a solid career with plenty of 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, became a Disney Channel star with the show Hannah Montana, playing a girl who is secretly a pop star by night. Billy Ray had a role on the show, playing her manager.

    While the show was running, Miley and Billy Ray released a duet called "Ready, Set, Don't Go," which went to #37 US, giving Billy Ray his first Top 40 since "Achy Breaky." Miley would soon become a media sensation and by far the most famous Cyrus.
  • 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," in which he begs the DJ not to play "that Achy Breaky song." Al offers alternatives like Yoko Ono, Vanilla Ice and Zamfir.

    Weird Al donated all the profits for his spoof to the United Cerebral Palsy Association. The parodist felt the song was "mean-spirited," so he thought that he might as well donate the money earned to a charitable cause.
  • In Billy Ray Cyrus' 2006 song "I Want My Mullet Back," the riff to this song is sampled in the guitar solo. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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.
  • This was featured on the PAX TV medical drama Doc, starring none other than Billy Ray Cyrus. His character, Dr. Clint "Doc" Cassidy, hears the tune on the radio and says, "I hate that song." The show ran from 2001 to 2004.
  • This was the first single to achieve triple Platinum status in Australia.
  • Cyrus owes a debt to Ray Charles with the line, "You can tell your mom I moved to Arkansas." On his 1959 hit What'd I Say, Charles sang:

    Tell your mama, tell your pa
    I'm gonna send you back to Arkansas

Comments: 31

  • Luke Lee from London, UkI can understand why Mustaine was pissed. Countdown to Extinction was one of the best metal albums of the nineties. Some Gave All was just awful.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaDoes anyone know who played on the song? Tried to learn that dance but it was beyond me. Looked like fun though.
  • Erika from West Band, WiThis 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. :)
  • Zappy from Geelong, AustraliaGotta love that mullet. Seriously, Billy Ray is a hugely talented individual.
  • Dara from Barnesville, Ohi can't stand him now thanks to miley
  • John from Nashville, TnThe Oak Ridge Boys turned down this song before Billy Ray recorded it.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI love this song! I would love to know the achy breaky.
  • Eugene from Minneapolis, MnI 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.
  • Mark from Byrdstown, TnPoor 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.
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaBilly 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!
  • Musicmama from New York, NyI'm adapting this song to the kazoo.
  • Eighteen from Marysville, MiA version of this song is played in the movie "Crank".
  • Diana from Oroville , CaI hate this song with a passion.. I loved it when The Marcy Brothers sang it, and I hate Billy Ray Cyrus for steeling it.
  • Sara from Traverse City, MiThis 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.
  • Wilson from Atlanta, GaHave any of you guys seen that episode of South Park with this song in it? IT IS HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • K from Toronto, CanadaThis is the anthem of hideous mullets everywhere.
  • Tony from Topeka, Ks"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.
  • Randy from New Waterford, CanadaBilly 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"
  • Providence from Tahlequah, OkThis 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!"
  • Alan from Grande Prairie, Alberta, CanadaCome 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.
  • Keith from Kyle, TxThe 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.
  • Kelli from Cedar Rapids, IaI found a list of the 50 worst songs of this century and this one was like, number 5.
  • Scott from Ashland, KyMark 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
  • Joey from Maffra, AustraliaI actually like the song! But then again, I do have a mullet...
  • Mark from Falls Church, VaThe 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.
  • Cameron from Cairns, AustraliaThis has got to be the most annyoing song ever. I don't know of anyone, alive or dead, who can stand it.
  • Mike from Cincinnati, OhHe 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.
  • Tom from Alma, GaDo you realize you guys just mentioned "mullets, bagpipes, and hoedown" in the last three posts? Oh my.........
  • Tiffany from Dover, FlI danced this in a Valentine's Day hoedown in my elementary school!
  • Deana from Indianapolis, InI have a friend that can play this on the bagpipes
  • Deanna from Washington, IlMullet craze...
see more comments

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