Achy Breaky Heart

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"Achy Breaky Heart"
Single by Billy Ray Cyrus
from the album Some Gave All
Released March 23, 1992 (1992-03-23)
Recorded January 1992
Length 3:23
Writer(s) Don Von Tress
  • Joe Scaife
  • Jim Cotton
Billy Ray Cyrus singles chronology
"Achy Breaky Heart"
"Could've Been Me"

"Achy Breaky Heart" is a country music song written by Don Von Tress. Originally titled "Don't Tell My Heart" and performed by The Marcy Brothers in 1991, its name was later changed to "Achy Breaky Heart" and performed by Billy Ray Cyrus on his 1992 album Some Gave All. As Cyrus' debut single and signature song, it made him famous and has been his most successful song. It became the first single ever to achieve triple Platinum status in Australia and the 1992's best selling single in the same country.[1][2] In the United States it became a crossover hit on pop and country radio, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Hot Country Songs chart, becoming the first Country single to be certified Platinum since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's "Islands in the Stream" in 1983.[3] The single topped in several countries and after being featured on Top of the Pops in the United Kingdom, peaked at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart. It remains Cyrus's biggest hit single in the USA to date, and his only one to reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Thanks to the video of this hit, there was the explosion of the linedance into the mainstream, becoming a craze.[4][5][6][7] The song is considered by some as one of the worst songs of all time; featuring at number two in VH1 and Blenders list of the "50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever." [8]


The song was initially to be recorded by The Oak Ridge Boys in the early 1990s but the group decided against recording it after lead singer Duane Allen said that he did not like the words "achy breaky".[9] It was then recorded in 1991 under the title "Don't Tell My Heart" by The Marcy Brothers and Billy Ray Cyrus on his debut album Some Gave All in 1992. It is written in the key of A major and possesses only two chords: A and E.

The music video for the song was filmed during a concert at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, KY. It was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in 1993, but lost both awards to Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven."

Other cover versions[edit]

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song in 1992 on Chipmunks in Low Places. This version, which features speaking parts by Billy Ray himself, reached number 71 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, becoming their first chart entry on any Billboard chart in 32 years.
  • Kikki Danielsson covered the song with lyrics in Swedish by Mikael Wendt and Christer Lundh, as "En allra sista chans" on her 1993 album Jag ska aldrig lämna dig.[10]
  • The Kidsongs Kids and the Biggles covered the song in their 1994 Kidsongs video "Country Sing-Along".
  • Stef Carse covered the song with lyrics in French, which was titled "Achy Breaky Dance."
  • Marianne Weber a Dutch singer covered the song on her album Country & Weber, which was titled "Ik doe wat ik wil".
  • In 2014, Cyrus and rapper Buck 22 released an updated version of the song called "Achy Breaky 2".


"Weird Al" Yankovic wrote a parody called "Achy Breaky Song." The lyrics describe Yankovic's annoyance with "Achy Breaky Heart", as well as several alternatives he would rather endure rather than having to listen to it any more, including being "ti[ed] a chair and kick[ed]...down the stairs". This parody appears on his album Alapalooza. Run C&W also parodied the song as "Itchy Twitchy Spot" on their debut album Into the Twangy-First Century. ApologetiX also parodied the song as "Fakey Shakey Parts".

In the Hannah Montana episode "The Way We Almost Weren't", Billy Ray Cyrus' character Robby Stewart is seen in a fictional setting writing Achy Breaky Heart in a New Mexico cafe in 1987. He tries the words "itchy twitchy heart" and "herky jerky heart" but is unsatisfied. Jackson suggests he use the words "achy breaky," but Robby blows it off as "the dumbest thing I've ever heard."[11] Then, in the episode "Ooo, Ooo, Itchy Woman", he chases a mouse around the house until it ends up in the piano and sees that it's a good player. He proceeds to ask if it knows "Achy Breaky Heart".

An episode of In Living Color parodied the song as "Achy Breaky Head"; this version of it was performed by one of Jim Carrey's characters.

In 1994, Bill Nye the Science Guy's Season 1 episode Electricity made a spoof called "AC/DC Charge" that is exclusive to Electric Current.

A caricature of Billy Ray Cyrus (named "Billie Rae Cyprus") sang a brief parody of this song in a 1993 episode of Animaniacs during the Pinky & The Brain short "Bubba Bo Bob Brain". In the parody, "Achy Breaky Heart" is replaced with "Empty Hollow Head", with lyrics describing the caricature's inability to understand what he hears.

Celtic fans used the tune of the song to pay tribute to winger Paddy McCourt, a trend continued by various teams, for instance Newcastle United fans for midfielder Yohan Cabaye, West Ham United fans towards attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet and Leicester City fans for winger Anthony Knockaert. in a episode of The Simpsons The old man and Lisa it used when Mr. Burns walks in the old folks home .

Critical reception[edit]

The song reached number 23 on CMT's 100 Greatest Videos in 2008, and on Blender magazine's 50 Worst Songs Ever.[8] In 2002, Shelly Fabian from ranked the song number 249 on the list of the Top 500 Country Music Songs.[12] In 2007, the song was ranked at number 87 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s.[13]

Track listings[edit]

Sales and Certifications[edit]

Country Certifications Certifications sales
Australia 3× Platinum[1] 210,000
United Kingdom Silver[14] 200,000
United States Platinum[15] 1,000,000


Billy Ray Cyrus version[edit]

Preceded by
"Some Girls Do"
by Sawyer Brown
Billboard Hot Country Songs
number-one single

May 30–June 27, 1992
Succeeded by
"I Saw the Light"
by Wynonna Judd
Preceded by
"Take It Like a Man"
by Michelle Wright
RPM Country Tracks
number one single

June 27–July 11, 1992
Preceded by
"The Thunder Rolls"
by Garth Brooks
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single of the year

Succeeded by
"In the Heart of a Woman"
by Billy Ray Cyrus

Alvin and the Chipmunks version[edit]

Chart (1992–93) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 53
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[35] 71


  1. ^ a b Hurst, Jack (1993-07-04). "ACHY BREAKY START BRUISED BY THE CRITICS, BILLY RAY CYRUS IS COMING BACK FOR MORE". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
  2. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 50 Singles 1992". ARIA. Archived from the original on 28 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
  3. ^ Cyrus Goes Triple-Platinum; Brooks Breaks 8 million. Billboard. 1992-08-15. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  4. ^ "Line dancing refuses to go out of style". Star-News. 1992-10-30. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  5. ^ "Stepping to country fun". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids-Iowa City). 1993-04-17. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  6. ^ "Cyrus sets off dance craze". The Daily Courier. 1994-07-25. Retrieved 2010-08-12. [dead link]
  7. ^ "This time around, the country craze proves to have some staying power". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 1995-06-13. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  8. ^ a b "VH1 & Blender Magazine Present: 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs ... Ever". Archived at PR Newswire. VH1, Blender. 12 May 2004. 
  9. ^ "The Ones That Got Away". Country Weekly. 2009-04-06. 
  10. ^ Information at Svensk mediedatabas
  11. ^ "The Way We Almost Weren't". Hannah Montana. Season 2. Episode 23. May 4, 2008. 
  12. ^ Fabian, Shelly (2002). "Top 500 Country Music Songs". Archived from the original on 12 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  13. ^ "100 Greatest Songs of the '90s". Music News - VH1 Music. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "BPI certification results". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  15. ^ "RIAA singles for "Achy Breaky Heart"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  16. ^ " – Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  17. ^ " – Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  18. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2004." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. July 25, 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2170." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. June 27, 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2022." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. July 25, 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  21. ^ " – Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  22. ^ " – Cyrus,Billy Ray Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  23. ^ " – Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  24. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Billy Ray Cyrus search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  25. ^ " – Billy Ray Cyrus – Achy Breaky Heart". Top 40 Singles.
  26. ^ "Archive Chart: 1992-08-22" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  27. ^ "Billy Ray Cyrus – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Billy Ray Cyrus. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  28. ^ "Billy Ray Cyrus – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Billy Ray Cyrus. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  29. ^ "Billy Ray Cyrus – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Billy Ray Cyrus. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  30. ^ 1992 Australian Singles Chart (Retrieved July 25, 2008)
  31. ^ "RPM Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks of 1992". RPM. December 19, 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  32. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1992". RPM. December 19, 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Billboard Year End listing for "Achy Breaky Heart"". Billboard. 1992-12-31. Retrieved 2009-04-25. [dead link]
  34. ^ "Best of 1992: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1992. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  35. ^ "The Chipmunks – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for The Chipmunks.

External links[edit]