On This Day: Billy Ray Cyrus Scores No. 1 With Iconic ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ in 1992

by Emily Morgan

Billy Ray Cyrus will celebrate a major career milestone on Sunday, as his iconic hit, “Achy Breaky Heart,” hit the No. 1 spot 29 years ago today. 

On May 30, 1992, Billy Ray Cyrus cemented his role as a country music star when the song hit the charts. The tune would give him his namesake as a bona fide legend in the genre. 

Acting as his debut single, “Achy Breaky Heart,” appeared on his freshman album, Some Gave All. After hitting the airwaves, the song landed in the No. 1 spot, where it remained for five weeks.

The single also helped Cyrus’ Some Gave All album climb to No. 1, where it stayed for a record-breaking 17 weeks. It sold more than 9 million copies in the United States. 

However, some fans may not know that the song that made Cyrus a household name was actually a cover. Don Von Tress originally wrote the song, and later, The Marcy Brothers were the first to record it in 1991, under a different title: “Don’t Tell My Heart.

The Country Singer That Took Issue With Billy Ray Cyrus Hit Song

Moreso, The Oak Ridge Boys also planned to record the song but changed their minds when the group’s lead singer, Duane Allen, admitted he wasn’t too fond of the lyrics.

Additionally, Allen wasn’t the only person in the industry who wasn’t a fan of the “Achy Breaky Heart.” Travis Tritt famously ridiculed the song, calling it “frivolous.”

Say what you will about the song, but it’s what put Cyrus on the map as a country superstar. Today, the song has been translated into more than 100 languages. It even helped to kick-start the line-dancing craze that hit honky-tonks in the ’90s. 

Several artists even covered it, including Alvin and the Chipmunks, South African singer Ray Dylan and Swedish star Kikki Danielsson. In 2014, Cyrus laid down a remake of the song, “Achy Breaky 2,” with rapper Buck 22.

Later, in 2017, Cyrus released a Muscle Shoals-influenced version and a multi-lingual version with Mexican quintet Caballo Dorado to celebrate the song’s 25th anniversary.

Decades after the release of “Achy Breaky Heart,” the Kentucky native is still going strong in his career as an artist. After partnering with Lil Nas X on “Old Town Road” last year, Billy Ray Cyrus won two Grammy awards in 2020. In January, he also released a new EP, The Singin’ Hills Sessions Vol. 1 Sunset.