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Billy Ray Cyrus' 10 Best Songs: Critic's Picks
Billy Ray Cyrus performs during the Camp Freddy holiday residency at The Roxy Theatre on Dec. 19, 2013 in West Hollywood, Calif
One summer twenty five years ago, one could not escape the Mercury Records debut of Billy Ray Cyrus. “Achy Breaky Heart” not only topped the chart for five weeks, but made the Kentucky native a pop culture phenomenon. Now, in 2017, the singer seems to be as well known for being the father of Miley Cyrus--both in real life and on the screen as the dad of Hannah Montana.
However, as his devoted legion of fans can attest, there’s a lot more to Billy Ray Cyrus than just the song that became his first hit or his iconic daughter. Here are ten of the singer’s finest moments on record, complete with a number one choice that might have you scratching your head just a bit--until you hear it!
10. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "Some Gave All"
Though not a major hit in the Billy Ray Cyrus song catalog, the title track of his 1992 debut album served as one of the most patriotic-themed tracks in the country format for this generation, speaking of the sacrifices that many of America’s finest have made , with some being the more ultimate kind.
9. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "One Last Thrill"
One of the biggest injustices in Cyrus’s career was the fact that this brilliantly-written track by Dave Loggins and Reed Nielsen failed to merit any attention from country radio programmers in 1994. The song--a cut from his Storm In The Heartland album--showed a little more grit than anything he had done to that point.
8. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "When I’m Gone"
Because of his down-home charm, undeniable talent, and boyish good looks, many people made comparisons to Cyrus and Elvis Presley. Vocally, that similarity never was more apparent than on this track from his 1993 follow-up disc It Won’t Be The Last. It sounded like something that Presley might have recorded one night with the recording equipment running at RCA Studio B. The harmony singers sounded very similar. That’s with good reason, as the Jordanaires-- a linchpin on so many of those recordings--were prominently featured.
7. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "Back To Tennessee"
A 2009 Billy Ray Cyrus track that was a part of the Hannah Montana movie soundtrack, this song was very much true to life, with the singer expressing a desire to get back to his Southern roots, after being away in California for a few years during filming. His 1990 Ford Ranger “little blue truck” that he mentions in the song was transported to the west coast to make its appearance in the video clip for this song.
6. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "In The Heart of a Woman"
All eyes were on Cyrus in the spring months of 1993. After the record-shattering success of his debut album, many wondered if he could do it again. Released as the first single from It Won’t Be The Last, the singer proved he was no one-hit wonder with this dramatic performance that featured him taking his vocal up a notch from his debut.
5. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "Words By Heart"
A 1994 Billy Ray Cyrus song performance that showed his influence from Bruce Springsteen, this rock-infused track about a man reminiscing about his first love quickly found a way to the top 20 of the Hot 100.
4. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "Ready, Set, Don’t Go"
4. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "Ready, Set, Don’t Go"
After close to a decade, Cyrus returned to the top ten of the country charts with this emotionally-charged duet with his daughter Miley. The tender lyrics of this song also returned Cyrus to the top 40 of the Hot 100 for the first time since 1992 with….well, you know!
3. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "Busy Man"
Released in the late summer of 1998, this Billy Ray Cyrus song was all about taking a look at one’s priorities in life, and how personal relationships sometimes took a backseat to things such as work. The lyrics resonated with country music fans throughout the United States, helping him to notch his biggest chart single in five years.
(Hold it right there! You the viewer decide which should be Billy Ray Cyrus' #1 - View both videos)
2. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "Achy Breaky Heart"
Yes, we realize that the lyrics of the song that made the “Cyrus Virus” an epidemic in the summer of 1992 were what they are. Yes, we also realize that everybody had an opinion on this song when it was released. But, come on...admit it. You have likely sang along with the beat of this song at least once in your life and probably tried to copy one of Cyrus’s flamboyant dance moves during the song. You might not have done it as well, but chances are pretty good you’ve tried it.
1. Billy Ray Cyrus -- "It’s All The Same To Me"
Of all the songs that could have topped this list, why this Billy Ray Cyrus song, which just barely made the top twenty upon its’ release in 1997? Part of the reason was the production from Keith Stegall and John Kelton, which was very reminiscent of '80s pop, a style that Cyrus really seemed to handle well. But, at the same time, his vocal approach to this song seemed a little more polished, a little more refined than anything he had done to that point in his career. It simply worked!