‘Catch of the Day’ – Billy Ray Cyrus – “Achy Breaky Heart (Muscle Shoals Edition)” [AUDIO]
Today, we veer a little off of our normal path, featuring on a song with a history. A song that was originally going to be recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys, but the group decided before recording it to pass on it. It then fell to a young performer from Flatwoods, Kentucky, who released it as is debut single, with the tune becoming his most successful single and signature tune.
In 1992 Billy Ray Cyrus was an unknown singer from Kentucky, the son of a local politician and the grandson of a Pentecostal preacher, who grew up listening to blue grass and gospel music. The younger Cyrus attended Georgetown University on a baseball scholarship, before changing his focus to music after attending a Neil Diamond concert. At that time he put himself on a time-table of 10 months to get his music career off the ground. He started a band called Sly Dog, named after his one-eyed dog Sylvester, and after a short stint as a group, Cyrus was signed as a solo artist by Mercury Nashville Records in the mid 1980’s.
His initial contract fizzled without anything coming from it, and by the late 80’s, Cyrus was left without a career, enduring hardships that included living in a neighbor’s car while continuing to chase his dream. In 1990 the hardships and hard work payed off, as Cyrus was signed by Polygram Records and began work on his debut album, a project which would become known as Some Gave All, and would not only go platinum, to date it is certified 9x over, for sales of more than 9 million copies in the U.S, and more than 20 million world wide. The album still holds the record for most consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 Albums chart with 17, and stands second behind Garth Brooks’ Ropin’ The Wind for most weeks at number 1 by a Country album, with 43.
From the album would come a song that would act not only as a debut single, but also as a force of nature, becoming the first country single since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands In The Stream” in 1983 to be certified platinum. “Achy Breaky Heart” would become a favorite of line dancers everywhere, and spent 5 weeks at #1 in 1992, while peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart,
For many years, the song was Cyrus’ signature song, regardless of the 12 album he has released since Some Gave All. It didn’t matter he had success as an actor, appearing on the comedy-drama series Doc, or the Disney smash hit Hannah Montana. He made numerous guest appearances on series like Diagnosis Murder or The Nanny. He was a contestant on Dancing With The Stars‘ fourth season, and appeared in the Jackie Chan movie The Spy Next Door. He would return to the country charts in 2008, with a duet with his daughter Miley, “Ready, Set, Don’t Go“, which peaked at #4. Nothing could help Cyrus shake his image as the “Achy-Breaky” guy.
In 2012, Cyrus took the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach to that image, re-recording the tune with Buck 22 as a rap tune, “Achy Breaky 2“, finding some success on the dance charts, and giving Cyrus’ musical career a slight, yet brief kick. To celebrate the singles 25th anniversary, Cyrus has also recorded a version of the song for Spanish speaking audiences, featuring Tejano star Caballo Dorado, and has rerecorded and released an updated, bluesier version to country radio.
And it is THAT version, that is in our spotlight today. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its original release, making it the only song to be both a classic AND a Catch of the Day, Billy Ray Cyrus and “Achy Breaky Heart, Muscle Shoals Edition.” It’s new music, that you’ve heard before, but never quite like this, and you’ll want to hear it again.
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