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Billy Ray Cyrus

Garth Brooks was far and away the biggest country music star of the 1990s, but Billy Ray Cyrus was the artist who best exemplified how Nashville's take on the music business had changed in that decade. Brooks was the first country act who was introduced to the world with the same degree of marketing savvy and commercial calculation as a major pop star, and with results nearly any pop star would envy. Cyrus' first album debuted on the Billboard album charts at number one, and would stay there for 17 weeks in 1992, supported by a music video that sparked a new dance craze and a wave of publicity that made him one of the most talked-about people in America, and one of country music's first real-deal sex symbols. To many, Cyrus became a symbol of Nashville's new commercial acumen, while others saw him as evidence of how far country music had strayed from its roots. Caught somewhere in between was Cyrus himself, a performer who found he had to prove himself as an artist after he had become one of the greatest popular success of all time.

William Ray Cyrus was born in Flatwoods, Kentucky on August 25, 1961. Cyrus' father, Ron Cyrus, was a politician who spent 21 years in the Kentucky House of Representatives before retiring from office in 1996. Ron Cyrus was also an amateur guitar picker, Billy Ray's mother played piano, and his grandfather, a Pentecostal minister, played the fiddle, and family jam sessions were common in the Cyrus household, dominated by country, gospel, and old standards. Billy Ray's initial attempts to teach himself to play his father's guitar were foiled by the fact he was left-handed while his dad was right-handed, and it was years before he finally picked up the right instrument and learned to play.

While Cyrus enjoyed music, he had a talent for baseball, and attended Georgetown College on an athletic scholarship. But academics and baseball took a backseat to music after he picked up the guitar; he and his brother formed a country-rock band called Sly Dog, and in 1982 they landed a standing gig at an Ironton, Ohio roadhouse, prompting Cyrus to quit school and pursue music full-time. Sly Dog broke up after a fire burned down their home club as well as their gear in 1984, and Billy Ray relocated to Los Angeles in hopes of kick-starting his career. Cyrus had little luck in California, and moved back to Kentucky, but booked shows in Nashville as often as he could, refining his trademark blend of country and rock. In time, Cyrus attracted the attention of veteran country star Del Reeves, and when Cyrus landed a spot opening for Reba McEntire in Louisville in 1990, Reeves encouraged A&R men at Mercury Records to give him a look. After seeing Cyrus on an arena-sized stage, they quickly signed him to a record deal.

Mercury put together an aggressive promotional campaign for Cyrus that focused on his rugged good looks and his stage presence. Both were on prominent display in the music video for Cyrus' first single, which was designed to tie in to the growing popularity of line dancing in country music clubs. The video for "Achy Breaky Heart" received extensive play in clubs and on country-formatted television outlets, leading to major airplay for the single. "Achy Breaky Heart" became a phenomenon as the single went platinum, and Cyrus' debut album, Some Gave All, shot to the top of the Billboard charts and went on to sell nine million copies.

The history of popular music teaches that most great success come with a backlash, and Cyrus soon found himself strongly criticized by country music traditionalists, who didn't care for his rock-oriented sound, as well as by a variety of commentators who saw him as a product that became a success as a result of marketing rather than talent. Cyrus enjoyed enough success in 1992 to shrug off such criticism, but when he released his second album, pointedly titled It Won't Be the Last, in 1993, it failed to produce a single as successful as "Achy Breaky Heart," and though the album went platinum, it was a considerable disappointment compared to the debut. Cyrus' third album, 1994's Storm in the Heartland, received little support from country radio and struggled to go gold, and while critics began to warm to Cyrus with the tougher and more personal sound of 1996's Trail of Tears, the album was a flop, and following 1998's Shot Full of Love, Mercury parted ways with the man who helped them change the shape of the country music recording industry.

In 1999, Cyrus began dipping his toes into acting, playing a country singer named Lasso Larry Larson on an episode of The Love Boat: The Next Wave, and he landed a small role in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive in 2001. While Cyrus continued to make albums -- Southern Rain in 2000, Time Flies in 2003 -- they largely went unnoticed, but in late 2001, he landed the lead role in a cable television series, Doc, in which he played Dr. Clint Cassidy, a physician from the deep south who relocates to New York City. The show fared well enough to last until 2004, and made him a viable name in show business again; Cyrus also recorded a Christian album in 2003, The Other Side, which gave him a chance to explore his gospel roots.

In 2006, Cyrus dropped his ninth album, Wanna Be Your Joe, on Universal's New Door Records imprint; the album included his tribute to the hairstyle he rocked in his "Achy Breaky Heart" days, "I Want My Mullet Back," and its release coincided with his return to television. Cyrus' daughter Miley (born the same year "Achy Breaky Heart" was a hit) was cast in the title role of the Disney situation comedy Hannah Montana as an ordinary teenager who moonlights as a pop star, and Billy Ray, reasonably enough, co-starred as her father and manager, Robbie Stewart. While Miley was the show's star, Hannah Montana's massive success gave Billy Ray plenty of face time and raised his profile considerably. Wanna Be Your Joe became his first album to go gold since 1994, and he also enjoyed chart success with the 2006 Hannah Montana album, which included his duet with Miley, "I Learned from You." Disney, eager to make the most of the show's success, signed Cyrus to its own label, and Home at Last, which fused his country-rock sound with pop leanings, arrived in 2007. (That same year, Cyrus was a contestant on the popular television series Dancing with the Stars, where he lasted eight weeks.) A second album for Disney, Back to Tennessee, was released in 2009, while in 2010, Cyrus appeared on the self-titled debut album by his side project, Brother Clyde, an alternative/hard rock band. While Brother Clyde was initially launched as an all-star project with John Waite, Jeffrey Steele, and Phil Vassar, by the time the album was recorded, Cyrus was the only member of the original lineup still on board, and the group featured Jamie Miller of Snot on guitar and Samantha Maloney of Hole and Eagles of Death Metal on drums.

In January 2011, Hannah Montana finally ended its run after 98 episodes and a spin-off feature film, and five months later, Billy Ray released his final album for Disney, I'm American, a set of patriotic tunes that included a remake of "Some Gave All" and the title cut, written with his Brother Clyde bandmates. The following year, Cyrus announced he and producer Brandon Friesen had founded their own independent record label, Blue Cadillac Music, and their first release, Cyrus' Change My Mind, came out in the fall of 2012. Cyrus also announced he was writing his autobiography, to be published by Amazon in 2013. Three years later, Cyrus returned with Thin Line, a star-studded de facto tribute to outlaw country. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: I'm American

1. Runway Lights

2. We Fought Hard

3. Keep The Light On

4. Stripes And Stars

5. I'm American

6. Old Army Hat

7. Nineteen

8. Some Gave All

x

Track List: Back To Tennessee

1. Back To Tennessee

2. Thrillbilly

3. He's Mine

4. Somebody Said A Prayer

5. A Good Day

6. I Could Be The One

7. Like Nothing Else

8. Country As Country Can Be

9. Love Is The Lesson

10. Give It To Somebody

11. Real Gone

12. Butterflyi Fly Away

x

Track List: Love Songs

1. She's Not Cryin' Anymore

2. In The Heart Of A Woman

3. I Am Here Now

4. Never Thought I'd Fall In Love With You

5. Only God Could Stop Me Loving You

6. Missing You

7. Three Little Words

8. A Heart With Your Name On It

9. Somebody New

10. Give My Heart To You

11. It Won't Be The Last

12. How Much

x

Track List: Home At Last

1. Ready, Set, Don't Go

2. The Beginning

3. The Buffalo

4. Flying By

5. Brown Eyed Girl

6. Don't Give Up On Me

7. You've Got A Friend

8. You Can't Lose Me

10. My Everything

11. Put A Little Love In Your Heart

12. Over The Rainbow

13. Stand

x

Track List: Wanna Be Your Joe

1. Wanna Be Your Joe

2. I Want My Mullet Back

3. The Man

4. I Wouldn't Be Me

5. What About Us

6. Country Music Has The Blues

7. The Freebird Fell

8. I Wonder

9. Lonely Wins

10. How've Ya Been

11. Ole What's Her Name

12. Hey Daddy

13. Stand

14. A Pain In The Gas

x

Track List: The Collection

Disc 1

1. In The Heart Of A Woman

2. Talk Some

3. Somebody New

4. Only Time Will Tell

5. Ain't Your Dog No More

6. Words By Heart

7. It Won't Be The Last

8. Throwin' Stones

9. Right Face Wrong Time

10. Dreamin' In Color, Livin' In Black And White

11. When I'm Gone

Disc 2

8. Without You

x

Track List: The Other Side

Disc 1

1. Face Of God

2. Wouldn't You Do This For Me?

3. Always Sixteen

4. I Need You Now

5. Love Has No Walls

6. Tip Of My Heart

7. Did I Forget To Pray

8. Holding On To A Dream

9. I Love You This Much

10. The Other Side

11. Amazing Grace

Disc 2
x

Track List: The Best Of Billy Ray Cyrus - 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection

1. Achy Breaky Heart

2. Some Gave All

3. Could've Been Me

4. She's Not Cryin' Anymore

5. Wher'm I Gonna Live?

6. In The Heart Of A Woman

7. Somebody New

8. Words By Heart

9. It's All The Same To Me

10. Busy Man

x

Track List: Southern Rain

1. You Won't Be Lonely Now

3. All I'm Thinking About Is You

4. We The People

5. I Will

6. Love You Back

7. Burn Down The Trailer Park

8. Everywhere I Wanna Be

9. Crazy 'Bout You Baby

11. Hey Elvis

x

Track List: It Won't Be The Last

1. In The Heart Of A Woman

2. Talk Some

3. Somebody New

4. Only Time Will Tell

5. Ain't Your Dog No More

6. Words By Heart

7. It Won't Be The Last

8. Throwin' Stones

9. Right Face Wrong Time

10. Dreamin' in Color, Livin' in Black & White

11. When I'm Gone

x

Track List: Change My Mind (Radio Edit) (Single)

1. Change My Mind (Radio Edit)

x

Track List: Hey Elvis (Single)

1. Hey Elvis (Feat. Bryan Adams & Glenn Hughes)

x

Track List: Hope Is Just Ahead (Single)

1. Hope Is Just Ahead

x

Track List: Ready, Set, Don't Go (Radio Single)

1. Ready, Set, Don't Go

x

Track List: Runway Lights (Radio Single)

1. Runway Lights

x

Track List: Some Gave All

1. Could've Been Me

2. Achy Breaky Heart

3. She's Not Cryin' Anymore

4. Wher'm I Gonna Live-

5. These Boots Are Made For Walkin'

6. Someday, Somewhere, Somehow

7. Never Thought I'd Fall In Love With You

8. Ain't No Good Goodbye

9. I'm So Miserable

10. Some Gave All

x

Track List: Thin Line

1. Thin Line (Feat. Shelby Lynne)

2. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)

3. They're Playin Our Song

4. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

5. Stop Pickin On Willie

6. Sunday Morning Coming Down (Feat. Shelby Lynne)

7. Tulsa Time (Feat. Joe Perry)

8. Hillbilly On

9. Killing The Blues (Feat. Shooter Jennings)

10. I've Always Been Crazy (Feat. Shooter Jennings & Lee Roy Parnell)

11. Hey Elvis (Feat. Bryan Adams & Glenn Hughes)

12. Help Me Make It Through The Night (Feat. Kenley Shea Holm)

13. Hope (Let It Find You)

14. Going Where The Lonely Go (Feat. Braison Cyrus)

15. Angels Protect This Home (Feat. Miley Cyrus)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
istrahler
I am in love with this song sometimes it makes me cry. It makes me remember of me a my daddy.������
Report as inappropriate
I love this song it remember about me and my daddy
Report as inappropriate
jasmineskye0 9
I watched Hannah Montana the movie because u and Miley inspired me and now I love to sing yours and Miley's songs but I really like your song on my way back to Tennessee and I love hearing it in Hannah Montana the movie and Billy Ray Cyrus I love u so much and I'm just a little girl who loves your music than anyone else in the world!
Report as inappropriate
I love your guys it mean so much to me I love this song . me n dad
Report as inappropriate
To all the boys that lost the fight ..... I am here caring on ..... I well fight hard ...
Report as inappropriate
Myjgjokjmjkm j m ! O K ! k m u n
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Mylea
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FDCDCCFU. FU
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I love your music�������
Report as inappropriate
Did you write the climb for miley
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I like your song its the climb
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mccormack03
Are you good?
Report as inappropriate
You are awesome
Report as inappropriate
I love Billy Ray Cyrus and his Daughter Miley Ray Cyrus so much. I like Billy Ray's voice a little better than Miley's voice but I like Miley's music a little better. To me it is more meaningful.
Report as inappropriate
She so cute I will marry you you are sexy
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Have to see you can de amny
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Billy ray Cyrus :) :) ;)
Report as inappropriate
Bestdayever. So cool I love it im like what the heck
Report as inappropriate
the climb is a aswesome and so is butterfly fly away
Report as inappropriate
Adgfh SG DJ rbv svrb jyf SCR jhbf fgy fhyf cbtvf fhybf GT
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ale.melendez 8 0
Hola
Report as inappropriate
staci_sotelo
cjkcjckLove kjjhnnnmnmnm n n n
Report as inappropriate
Mikayla hedings
Report as inappropriate
I saw doc today
Report as inappropriate
Stop talking about Miley behind her back. I bet you guys won't have the guts to say it to her face so SHUT THE HELL UP ABOUT WRITING ABOUT HER!!! SHE IS HAPPY WITH HER LIFE!!! STOP ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE AND NO ONE ELSE CAN!!!! STOP IT AND GET THE HELL ON.WITH YOUR LIVES.
Report as inappropriate
Hi
Report as inappropriate
cehf528
I love the song the climb
Report as inappropriate
Ly and your songs ��
Report as inappropriate
Miley can do what the world she wants her daddy can't stop her from who she is it's her life no one can stop her life for noting. Somebody might will like to be like Miley one day.
Report as inappropriate
2mackidz
Shut up about Miley this who She always wanted to be and her dad can't change that ����
Report as inappropriate
Lame
Report as inappropriate
thatspat
Hi billy
Report as inappropriate
I love you daughter I just think you should've raised her better cause she's really inappropriat e
Report as inappropriate
Homework. Porm tricks food.
Tobe. dree up. Much4. Airpl. 30
Dance
Report as inappropriate
Nice met you Billy Ray Cyrus I love your Song thank you
Report as inappropriate
jljul20
Cool!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Report as inappropriate
I love him
Report as inappropriate
I bet you people don't make Miley's dad very happy because your talking crap about her on HIS PAGE like really you all are cowards because you guys I bet wouldn't have the nerve to say all the things you write on here to her
Report as inappropriate
His. B
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CFO fbcnxcncncnx n c n d m c k
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What happen to the non-twerking miley what happen :(
Report as inappropriate
Miley is gonna be Mikey. So I suggest you all should just leave her alone.
Report as inappropriate
Just leave her alone and deal with ur own problems and let her live her life.I bet yall hatters dont have a life thats why yall talking about her get a life people and live her alone.JEEZ!! ! ! ! y a l l stupide hatters gosh
Report as inappropriate
Why are yall haters talking about miley behind her back.IF u dont like the new miley deal with cause she is being her self and there nothing wrong with that.
Report as inappropriate
micaela.boet t c h e r
Dude, Miley is SO off track! Nothing she does glorifies God!! She's pretty trashy..
Report as inappropriate
karensalazar 4 3
Rip
Report as inappropriate
bvghpg
I love Billy Ray Cyrus!!!!!!! I even love Miley Cyrus. I hate when ppl disrespect her. She's just being herself. I'm always by her side and I'm always there for her no matter. Love u miles. From your number one fan
Report as inappropriate
ndbruce3591
Smiley call me a b**ch
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shop. sisirher. big borther
john. dulcq
Report as inappropriate
beirtty. and. jentte.
snlge. Liedes.
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