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Music / Billy Ray Cyrus

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"But don't tell my heart,
My achy breaky heart,
I just don't think he'd understand.
And if you tell my heart,
My achy breaky heart,
He might blow up and kill this man."
—"Achy Breaky Heart"

William Ray Cyrus (born August 25, 1961 in Flatwoods, Kentucky) is an American Country Music singer-songwriter. He rose to international fame in 1992 with the release of his debut album Some Gave All, which spawned four country top 40 hits in a row (including the Dance Sensation and eventual Signature Song, "Achy Breaky Heart"). His follow-up, It Won't Be The Last, debuted at #1 on the country album charts. After five albums with Mercury Records, he signed with Monument for Southern Rain, and began to pursue acting roles (including being cast as star of the Pax comedy-drama Doc. In 2003, he released two Christian country albums, although these two, as well as his other albums, were not as successful as his earliest releases.

Billy's daughter Miley Cyrus was later cast as the star of a new Disney Channel series, Hannah Montana. Billy Ray came along for the ride as well, playing Miley Stewart's In-Universe father, country singer Robby Ray Stewart (who is a self-played Captain Ersatz of Billy Ray Cyrus himself). The show's immense popularity led to a Career Resurrection; in 2006, Cyrus released the new album Wanna Be Your Joe (which featured a song performed with Miley), and then participated on Dancing with the Stars season 4 in 2007 with Karina Smirnoff as partner.

The same year, Cyrus signed with Walt Disney Records to release his 10th album, Home at Last, which peaked at #3 on Billboard's country album chart, and #20 on the Billboard 200 (notably, Miley's Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus reached #1 on the Billboard 200 at around the same time). A duet version of the song's debut single "Ready, Set, Don't Go" with Miley Cyrus was released as a single and reached #4 on the country chart, marking Billy Ray's first top-5 single since 1999, and Miley's first top-5 single ever. In 2009, Billy Ray Cyrus released Back to Tennessee on Disney's country label Lyric Street Records (which coincided with Hannah Montana: The Movie and featured several songs heard in it, including the duet "Butterfly Fly Away").

Also in 2009, Cyrus formed an alternative rock supergroup known as Brother Clyde, initially with Phil Vassar, Jeffrey Steele, and John Waite (but later re-formed with Samantha Maloney, Jamie Miller, Dan Knight, and Dave Henning instead. It was speculated that Cyrus may have engaged in Executive Meddling). It only released one, self-titled album and an accompanying single, and was quickly disbanded afterward. Cyrus has since formed his own label, Blue Cadillac Music, for subsequent releases.

In 2019, he was added as a guest vocalist on Lil Nas X's Country Rap crossover "Old Town Road", which became Cyrus's first #1 hit on the Hot 100.


  • Some Gave All (1992)
  • It Won't Be the Last (1993)
  • Storm in the Heartland (1994)
  • Trail of Tears (1996)
  • The Best of Billy Ray Cyrus: Cover to Cover (1997)
  • Shot Full of Love (1998)
  • Southern Rain (2000)
  • Time Flies (2003)
  • The Other Side (2003)
  • Wanna Be Your Joe (2005)
  • Home at Last (2007)
  • Back to Tennessee (2009)
  • I'm American (2011)
  • Change My Mind (2012)
  • Thin Line (2016)
  • Set the Record Straight (2017)

Tropes present in his work:

  • Cover Song: "Achy Breaky Heart", which was originally performed by the Marcy Brothers as "Don't Tell My Heart".
  • Declaration of Protection: "You Won't Be Lonely Now" ("I know you've seen all your dreams turn to dust / I know your heart's been left in the rain to rust / But you won't be lonely now").
  • Dual-Meaning Chorus: The title of "Storm in the Heartland" refers not only to a literal thunderstorm in the "heartland" of the United States, but also to a broken heart.
  • '80s Hair: He wore a mullet for most of his hitmaking days.
  • Genre Shift: The Other Side was a Christian album.
  • Greatest Hits Album: The Best of Billy Ray Cyrus: Cover to Cover
  • Love Nostalgia Song: In "Words by Heart", he discovers a breakup note in his former letterman's jacket and is reminded of the love and ensuing breakup.
  • Massive Multi Player Crossover: "We the People", a patriotic song from Southern Rain, features vocals from John Anderson, Waylon Jennings, Danni Leigh, Montgomery Gentry, and Yankee Grey. Much later, he re-recorded "Some Gave All" with Darryl Worley, Craig Morgan, and Jamey Johnson.
  • Re-release the Song: Partway through its chart run, "Ready, Set, Don't Go" was reissued as a duet with Miley.
  • Subdued Section: The last chorus of "Achy Breaky Heart" features only vocals.
  • Vocal Evolution: His voice became somewhat softer around the release of his Greatest Hits Album.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: "Busy Man" is about a dad distracted by work who is asked this by his children. He takes a day off in response.
  • Yarling: His vocal delivery was pretty much this on the Mercury albums.