Twenty-nine years ago today (May 30, 1992), Billy Ray Cyrus sealed his fate as a bona fide country music star. The singer’s debut single, “Achy Breaky Heart,” from his freshman album, Some Gave All, landed in the No. 1 spot, where it stayed for five weeks.
The Marcy Brothers originally recorded “Achy Breaky Heart” in 1991, under the title “Don’t Tell My Heart.” The Oak Ridge Boys also planned to record the song but changed their minds when lead singer Duane Allen decided he didn’t like some of the lyrics.
Allen wasn’t the only person who wasn’t a fan of the “Achy Breaky Heart,” either: Travis Tritt famously criticized the single, calling it “frivolous” and saying he didn’t want country music to be turned into an “a– -wiggling contest.”
Still, few can deny the far-reaching appeal of “Achy Breaky Heart”: The song was translated into more than 100 languages and helped launch the line-dancing craze that remained through the ’90s. It was covered by several artists, including Alvin and the Chipmunks, South African singer Ray Dylan and Swedish star Kikki Danielsson; Cyrus also did a remake of the song, “Achy Breaky 2,” with rapper Buck 22 in 2014. In 2017, to celebrate the tune’s 25th anniversary, Cyrus released a Muscle Shoals-influenced version and a multi-lingual version with Mexican quintet Caballo Dorado.
“Achy Breaky Heart” helped Cyrus’ Some Gave All album soar to No. 1, where it stayed for a record-breaking 17 weeks; the album sold more than 9 million copies in the United States, and the song became the first single in Australia to sell more than 3 million units. While Cyrus has earned several more Top 20 singles — including the followup to “Achy Breaky Heart,” “Could’ve Been Me,” which peaked at No. 2 — “Achy Breaky Heart” remains Cyrus’ only chart-topping single to date.
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