These days, most conversations about Billy Ray Cyrus have to do with his role in the monstrously successful remix of Lil Nas X's trap-country crossover, "Old Town Road." But what the kids listening to that new track might not realize is that this isn't Cyrus' first dance with a nationwide craze.
Cyrus started one of those nearly three decades ago, with "Achy Breaky Heart," the song that country music fans loved, loved to hate, and line-danced to all the way back in 1992. But he's also had a full career between "Achy Breaky Heart" and "Old Town Road," and that's what we're looking at today. Read on for a look at his five best songs.
"Back to Tennessee"From 'Back to Tennessee' (2009)
Close to 20 years after “Achy Breaky Heart,” Cyrus made chart history with “Back to Tennessee” … with a little help from his daughter, Miley Cyrus. The song entered the charts at the same time as her debut solo country single, “The Climb” -- the first time a father and daughter had charted simultaneously since Johnny and Rosanne Cash did it in 1990. “Back to Tennessee,” a song about the longing to return to the singer’s roots, peaked at No. 47 on the charts and was featured on the Hannah Montana soundtrack.
"It's All the Same to Me"From 'The Best of Billy Ray Cyrus: Cover to Cover' (1997)
Cyrus released “It’s All the Same to Me” as the lead single from his 1997 compilation album, Billy Ray Cyrus: Cover to Cover. While the song never rose about No. 19 on the charts, it’s still one of his best recordings: It's heavy on ‘80s synth in a way only Cyrus can pull off, and full of genuine emotion.
"Ready, Set, Don't Go"From 'Home at Last' (2007)
In 2007, Cyrus teamed up with daughter Miley for “Ready, Set, Don’t Go,” a song that -- appropriately -- is about learning to let a child grow up and move on.
“She’s gotta do what she’s gotta do,” the song opens, “and I’ve gotta like it or not.”
The tender, fatherly song was initially recorded solo, but Cyrus made the smart choice to enlist Miley on a popular re-recording. The father-daughter duet helped Cyrus land back on the international charts for the first time since 1992.
"Old Town Road (Remix)"From Lil Nas X's '7' (2019)
When Lil Nas X first dropped “Old Town Road,” there was controversy about whether the (obviously country!) song belonged on the country charts. Billboard still doesn't believe it does, but Cyrus does, so he put his money where his mouth is and recorded a new verse for the now-insanely popular remix of the song. Could anyone have predicted that his and Lil Nas X's version, which opens with that now-iconic "Yeaaaaaaaah," would not only help cement the No. 1 song’s place in history, but would also give Cyrus the best recording of his career after “Achy Breaky Heart”? Probably not. But we’re glad it happened.
"Achy Breaky Heart"From 'Some Gave All' (1992)
Before “Old Town Road,” there was, of course, “Achy Breaky Heart,” one of those rare songs that, in 1992, could have accurately be described as a genuine sensation. Still Cyrus' best-known solo song, it was a crossover pop and country smash, peaking at No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart and No. 4 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, and becoming the first country song to go platinum since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's “Islands in the Stream.” The worldwide megahit also can be credited with starting its own line dance craze. How many songs can you say that about?