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How the Hit Song Landed in His Lap

by alison bonaguro 5/17/2017

It’s been a little more than 25 years since we first heard of Billy Ray Cyrus and his “Achy Breaky Heart.”

And the star of CMT’s Still the King recently talked with industry publication Country Aircheck about the song and its special anniversary.

“I wish I’d written ‘Achy Breaky Heart,’ but I wouldn’t want to take that away from Don Von Tress. He wrote it, and I got the blessing of hearing it at the right time. I was looking for one more song for my debut album, and that thing landed in my lap,” Cyrus said of his hunt for songs for Some Gave All.

So for Cyrus, it was a little bit of a right-place-right-time situation that led to the best-selling, highest-charting song of his career, and according to ABC News, earned him $40 million in one year.

“I knew something very big was happening,” he said of the song’s instant popularity on country radio, pop radio, and in dance clubs.

But the breakout song wasn’t the first time Cyrus had a song on the radio. Before its March 1992 release, Cyrus cut a song that was technically his first country single.

“I grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry on WSM-AM/Nashville on my grandpa’s AM radio, all the way from Russell, Kentucky,” he said. “The first time I heard myself on the radio was on WTCR/Huntington, West Virginia. I’d released a song in 1985 called ‘It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over,’” he said of his first solo attempt after his country-rock band Sly Dog had broken up.

“My goal,” he said, “was always for my music to be heard around the world.”

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