Country Singer — Billy Ray Cyrus

William “Billy” Ray Cyrus (born August 25, 1961) is an American country music singer, songwriter and actor, who helped make country music a worldwide phenomenon. He has released eleven studio albums since 1992, released 38 singles, best known for his Number One single “Achy Breaky Heart” that became the first single ever to achieve triple Platinum status in Australia and the 1992’s best selling single in the same country. Thanks to the video of this hit, there was the explosion of the linedance into the mainstream, becoming a worldwide craze.  Cyrus, a multi-platinum selling recording artist, has scored a total of eight top-ten singles on the Billboard Country Songs chart. His most successful album to date is the debut of Some Gave All, which has been certified 9× Multi-Platinum in the United States and is the longest time spent by a debut artist at Number One on the Billboard 200 (17 consecutive weeks) and most consecutive chart-topping weeks in the SoundScan era. It’s the only album (from any genre) in the SoundScan era to log 17 consecutive weeks at Number One and is also the top-ranking debut album by a male country artist. It ranked 43 weeks in the top 10, a total topped by only one country album in history, Ropin’ The Wind by Garth Brooks. Some Gave All was also the first debut album to enter at the number 1 in the Billboard Country Albums. The album has also sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and is the Best selling debut album of all time for a solo male artist. Some Gave All was also the best selling album of the 1992 in the US with 4,832,000 copies. In his career, he has released 29 charted singles, of which 15 charted in the Top 40.

From 2001 to 2004, Cyrus starred in the television show Doc. The show was about a country doctor who moved from Montana to New York City. In late 2005, he also began to co-star in the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana with his daughter Miley Cyrus. The show is currently in its fourth season.

In 2010, it was announced that he and his son Trace Cyrus would take part in a new Syfy reality series called UFO: Unbelievably Freakin’ Obvious.

Early life

William Ray Cyrus was born in Flatwoods, Kentucky to Ron Cyrus, a politician, and his wife, the former Ruth Ann Casto. His grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher. Growing up, he was surrounded by bluegrass and gospel music from his family. His father, a right-handed man, played guitar. Billy Ray, on the other hand, was left-handed. He tried to play his father’s guitar, but could never learn. Cyrus attended Georgetown College on a baseball scholarship before switching his focus to music. During the 1980s, Cyrus played in the bar band Sly Dog before getting a record deal with Mercury Nashville Records.

Music career

The Mercury Records years

While trying to get a recording contract in Los Angeles, Cyrus was referred to as “too country” for LA, and “too rock” for Nashville. However, in 1990, he was signed to PolyGram/Mercury. Cyrus began to record and write music for his debut album, released in 1992.

Some Gave All was released in 1992. The album became an instant chart and sales successor. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums, Billboard 200, Canadian Country Albums chart, Canadian Albums Chart, and several other foreign countries. The album featured four consecutive Top 40 singles on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart from 1992 to 1993; including an album cut, the title track. The most successful single released was “Achy Breaky Heart”. It reached #1 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and was also a hit on the pop charts, where it reached #4. Although the song was the only number one single, “Could’ve Been Me” reached #2, “Wher’m I Gonna Live?” reached #23, and “She’s Not Cryin’ Anymore” reached #6.

Some Gave All was certified 9× Multi-Platinum in the United States in 1996, and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

In 1993, Cyrus and Mercury Records quickly released Cyrus’ second studio album, It Won’t Be the Last. The album featured four singles, however, only three made the Top 40. The album debuted at #1 on the Country charts, and #3 on the Billboard 200. By the end of the year, It Won’t Be the Last was certified Platinum by the RIAA. The highest charting single, the lead-off single, “In the Heart of a Woman”, charted to #3, with “Somebody New” charting to #9, “Words By Heart” at #12, and “Talk Some” at #63.

Cyrus’ third studio album, Storm in the Heartland, was released in 1994. The album was his final album he recorded for PolyGram, as they closed their doors in 1995. The album wasn’t as successful as its preceders. It only reached #11 on the Country albums chart, and only the title track made the Top 40 of the Country singles chart. “Deja Blue” was the second single released, however, it only managed to chart to #66, and the third and final single, “One Last Thrill”, failed to chart at all.

The album only managed to be certified Gold in the U.S. Before Cyrus started on his next album, he was transferred to Mercury Nashville.

Also in 1994, Cyrus contributed the song “Pictures Don’t Lie” to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country produced by the Red Hot Organization.

Billy Ray Cyrus singing at the Spirit of America tour.

Cyrus’ most critically acclaimed album was 1996’s, Trail of Tears on Mercury Records. The album debuted at #20 on the Country chart when released. Only two songs made the cut to radio, although neither one hit the Top 60. The title track and “Three Little Words” were released reaching #69, and #65 respectively. The album failed to reach any certification, and was on and off the charts after only four weeks.

Mercury Nashville released Shot Full of Love in 1998. The album became his lowest-peaking album, debuting at #32. The first single, “Under the Hood”, failed to chart, “Time for Letting Go” hit #70, “Busy Man” charted #3, and “I Give My Heart to You” reached #41. After the single fell from the charts, Cyrus left Mercury’s roster and signed with Monument Records in 1999.

His debut album for Monument, Southern Rain, was released in 2000. It debuted at #13 on the Country albums chart and #102 on the Billboard 200. Five singles were released and all five charted. The lead-off single, “You Won’t Be Lonely Now”, was the highest peaking single from the album, charting to #17. Other singles include “We the People” (#60), “Burn Down the Trailer Park” (#43), “Crazy ‘Bout You Baby” (#58), and the title track (#45).

Move to Christian music

After the singles from Southern Rain finished their chart runs, Cyrus began to record two Christian albums. Both albums, Time Flies and The Other Side, were released in 2003. The first album debuted and peaked at a low #56 on the Country album charts. Three singles were released, however, only the final single charted. “Bread Alone”, “What Else Is There”, and “Back to Memphis” were released, where “Back to Memphis” charted to #60.

The second Christian album, The Other Side, was recorded while Cyrus filmed his PAX series, Doc. It debuted at #5 on the Top Christian Albums chart, #18 Top Country Albums, and #131 on Billboard 200. Two of three singles charted, “Face of God” (#54) and “The Other Side” (#45), while “Always Sixteen” failed to chart at all.

Disney Entertainment

Billy Ray Cyrus singing at the Kids Inaugural Event on January 19, 2009.

The album Wanna Be Your Joe was Billy Ray’s first country album since 2000s Southern Rain. As with its preceding albums, it too, was recorded on a new record label: New Door/UMe Records. It was released while Cyrus was filming the show Hannah Montana. Wanna Be Your Joe made it to #24 on the Country charts and #113 on the all-genre charts. The album initially sold well, but no hit-single was released. The title track was released as the first single, and was followed by “I Want My Mullet Back”, both of which were ignored by country radio. Although not released as a single, a music video was made for the track “Stand”, a duet with daughter Miley Cyrus.

Also in 2006, Billy Ray appeared with metal-rock group Metal Skool (now Steel Panther), and performed several songs including “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol, and the song “I Want My Mullet Back”, which appears on Wanna Be Your Joe.

He also sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at Game 5 of the 2006 World Series in St. Louis, Missouri.

Career re-launch

In mid-2007, Cyrus was a celebrity contestant on the 4th season of the show Dancing with the Stars. Cyrus was partnered with Karina Smirnoff. As the show began to air, Cyrus was instantly a fan favorite. Cyrus and Smirnoff made it to the semi-finals where they finished in 5th place.

From his exposure on Dancing with the Stars and Hannah Montana, his record label pushed up the release date a month in advance of his new album. Home at Last was released in July 2007 on Walt Disney Records. It debuted at #3 on the country charts, making it Cyrus’ first Top 5 entry since It Won’t Be the Last debuted at #1 in 1993. Beginning sales for the album were very strong, however, the album failed to be certified. The single, “Ready, Set, Don’t Go”, was initially released as a solo single. The solo version made it to #33 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

In October 2007, Cyrus and daughter Miley Cyrus, performed a duet version of the song on Dancing with the Stars. The duet of the song debuted at #27 on the Country charts and eventually peaked at #4 in 2008; giving Billy Ray his first Top 5 single since “Busy Man” in 1999, as well as Miley’s first Top 5 on any Billboard chart.

Cyrus was a part of the Disney collection, Country Sings Disney in 2008. Two of his songs, “Ready, Set, Don’t Go” and the Sheryl Crow penned song, “Real Gone” appeared on the album. Billy Ray’s version of “Real Gone” was also made into a music video that is in rotation on both CMT and GAC; the song also appears on Back to Tennessee.

New label and newfound chart success

In late-2008, his website confirmed that a new studio album would be released by the end of the year from Lyric Street Records, entitled Back to Tennessee. The album was originally planned to be released on October 21, 2008, but was pushed back to November 18. When the album wasn’t released, it was announced for a January 13, 2009 release. The first single, “Somebody Said a Prayer”, debuted at #53 in August 2008 and reached #33 in November of that year. On March 14, 2009, the albums title track debuted at #59 on the country singles chart and a month later on April 7, Back to Tennessee was released. The song only charted to #47 after 11 weeks. A third single, “A Good Day”, debuted at #60 on the country charts for the chart week of September 5, 2009.

It was less successful in its first week out as Home at Last. It only reached #13 on the charts and only sold approximately 14,000 copies in its opening week. The albums release date coincided with the release of Hannah Montana: The Movie. The song “Back to Tennessee” was included on the movies soundtrack, as well as a duet with Miley Cyrus, entitled “Butterfly Fly Away”. The latter song would peak at #56 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #50 and Canadian Hot 100.

On November 12, 2008, Billy Ray and Miley presented the “Song of the Year” award at the 42nd Annual Country Music Association Awards. Prior to the award show, both Billy Ray and Miley performed on Good Morning America. In December 2008, Cyrus made a cameo in Metro Station’s video, “Seventeen Forever”.

Shortly after the chart debut of Back to Tennessee’s third single, “A Good Day”, Cyrus and Lyric Street Records parted ways after only one album.

Cyrus, Phil Vassar, Jeffrey Steele and John Waite then formed a new supergroup together in early 2009 called Brother Clyde.[28] On Twitter, Cyrus confirmed the supergroup, saying they just cut the first single from the new album, Lately.

On June 30, 2010. Cyrus released on his Facebook information about the new alternative rock group, Brother Clyde, with the old members sobstitued by Samantha Maloney, Jamie Miller, Dan Knight and Dave Henning. He also stated that their single, Lately, was available on iTunes and that their debut album would be out on August 10, 2010. Brother Clyde has a page on myspace.

After Brother Clyde project, he will return to the country music with a patriotic album produced by Buddy Cannon called American, that contains a duet with Willie Nelson and will be released in November.

Dancing with the Stars performances

Cyrus was partnered with Karina Smirnoff in the fourth season of Dancing with the Stars. They were eliminated in the eighth week. The judges scores from left to right are from Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli.

Week    Dance; Song – Artist        Judge’s scores   Result

Inaba     Goodman            Tonioli

1              Cha-Cha-Cha; “I Want My Mullet Back” – Billy Ray Cyrus                 5              4              4              Safe

2              Quickstep; “Ring of Fire” – Johnny Cash 7              7              7              Safe

3              Tango; “Rock the Casbah” – The Clash     7              7              7              Safe

4              Paso Doble; “Black Betty” – Ram Jam       7              7              7              Safe

5              Rumba; “What’s Love Got to Do with It” – Tina Turner     6              6              5              Safe

6              Jive; “I Love to Boogie” – T. Rex 7              7              7              Safe

7              Waltz; “Play Me” – Neil Diamond               5              6              6              Safe

Samba; “Living in America” – James Brown            7              7              7              Safe

8              Foxtrot; “Stand By Your Man” – Tammy Wynette               7              6              5              Eliminated

Mambo; “My Way” – Los Lonely Boys      6              7              7

Acting career

Cyrus starred in the 1999 independent film Radical Jack. He also had a small part in David Lynch’s 2001 film Mulholland Drive as Gene, a pool cleaner who had been having an affair with the wife of Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux). In 2001, Cyrus played the lead role on the PAX (now ION Television) comedy-drama Doc, which became the network’s highest-rated show. In 2005, Cyrus expanded his acting career in a stage production of Annie Get Your Gun in Toronto, appearing in the role of Frank Butler.

Cyrus’ television credits include The Nanny, Diagnosis Murder, Love Boat, The Next Wave, and TNN’s 18 Wheels Of Justice. In 2004, he guest-starred as a limo driver in the episode “The Power of Love” of the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. Cyrus has also been the subject of many television specials that detail his rise to fame and his career. These include two ABC documentaries, Billy Ray Cyrus: Dreams Come True and Billy Ray Cyrus: A Year on the Road, a VH1 exclusive, as well as the TNN specials I Give My Heart To You, and The Life and Times of Billy Ray Cyrus. In late 2005, Cyrus and his daughter Miley Cyrus began co-starring in the Disney Channel original television series, Hannah Montana, which premiered on March 24, 2006.

In March 2007, Cyrus joined several other celebrities to take part in the fourth season of the US version of Dancing with the Stars. He and his partner Karina Smirnoff, were eliminated in the eighth week (May 8, 2007) after having also placed in the “bottom two” the week before.

Cyrus also starred in Jackie Chan’s movie The Spy Next Door. It was shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico and released in January 2010.

Cyrus sits on the advisory board of the Parents Television Council.

Personal life

From 1986 to 1991, Cyrus was married to Cindy Smith, with whom he co-wrote the songs “Wher’m I Gonna Live?” and “Some Gave All”, both of which were featured on his 1992 debut album Some Gave All.

On December 28, 1992, he married Leticia “Tish” Cyrus, née Finley.[34][35] Together they have three children: daughters Miley Ray (born Destiny Hope in 1992) and Noah Lindsey (born 2000), and son Braison Chance (born 1994).[citation needed] He also has two adopted stepchildren from Finley’s previous marriage, Trace (born 1989), now a singer/guitarist for Metro Station, and Brandi (born 1987),[citation needed] as well as a son, Christopher Cody (born 1992), from a previous relationship with Kristin Luckey, who raised him in South Carolina. Cyrus adopted Brandi and Trace when they were young children.[36] In a 2004 interview on ABC News: Primetime, Cyrus stated that daughter Miley (conceived with Finley) and son Christopher (conceived with Luckey) were born in 1992, at which time Cyrus was unmarried, and that his marriage to Finley at the end of that year was secret and against his record company’s advice.

The family lived on a 500-acre (2.0 km2) farm in Thompson’s Station, outside of Nashville, Tennessee before moving to Los Angeles for the filming of Hannah Montana. Cyrus’ other daughter Brandi had a role in a Hannah Montana episode “Yet Another Side of Me” as Customer #1 and in the season 4 episode “Been Here All Along” as the Guitarist during the military tribute.

On October 26, 2010, Cyrus filed for divorce from his wife in Tennessee, citing irreconcilable differences.[38] In a statement made to People the next day announcing the split, the couple said, “As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family… We are trying to work through some personal matters. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers.”

Awards and nominations

Year       Association                                                                                               Result

1992       CMA Awards      Single of the Year – “Achy Breaky Heart”                Won

Music Video of the Year – “Achy Breaky Heart”   Nominated

Billboard Music Awards                 Most weeks at #1 Album, Some Gave All              Won

Billboard Video Music Awards    Best Male Artist, Country, “Achy Breaky Heart”                 Won

Best New Artist, Country, “Achy Breaky Heart” Won

AMOA Jukebox Awards                Pop Record of the Year, “Achy Breaky Heart”      Won

Country Record of the Year, “Achy Breaky Heart”             Won

Rising Star Award             Won

National Association of Recording Merchandisers             Record of the Year, New Artist Won

Record of the Year, Country Male            Won

Record of the Year, Male              Won

Record of the Year, Overall          Won

Country Music Television             Most Popular Music Video, “Achy Breaky Heart”               Won

R&R Readers Pool            Best New Artist                Won

People Magazine             One of the Most Intriguing People of the Year 1992         Won

Country Music Hall of Fame         Walkway of Stars             Inducted

1993       JUNO Awards    Best Selling Album (foreign or domestic), Some Gave All               Nominated

Best Selling Single (foreign or domestic), “Achy Breaky Heart”    Won

American Music Awards               Favorite Country Male Artist       Nominated

Favorite Country Album – Some Gave All               Nominated

Favorite Country Single – “Achy Breaky Heart”    Won

Favorite Country New Artist       Won

ACM Awards      Album of the Year – Some Gave All          Nominated

Entertainer of the Year Nominated

Single Record of the Year – “Achy Breaky Heart”                Nominated

Top New Male Vocalist Nominated

World Music Awards      Best International New Artist of the Year              Won

Country Music Television             #6 on Top 10 Video List, “In the Heart of a Woman”         Won

Canadian Country Music Awards               Best Selling Album (foreign or domestic), Some Gave All               Won

Grammy Awards              Record of the Year – “Achy Breaky Heart”             Nominated

Best New Artist                Nominated

Best Country Vocal Performance, Male – “Achy Breaky Heart”    Nominated

1994       Billboard 100th Anniversary Awards        16th Best Selling Album of all time, Some Gave All            Won

Childhelp USA   Humanitarian Award      Won

American Music Awards               Favorite Country Single – “Romeo” (Dolly Parton with Tanya Tucker,

Billy Ray Cyrus, Kathy Mattea, Pam Tillis and Mary Chapin Carpenter)      Nominated

Grammy Awards              Best Country Vocal Collaboration – “Romeo” (Dolly Parton with Tanya Tucker,

Billy Ray Cyrus, Kathy Mattea, Pam Tillis and Mary Chapin Carpenter)      Nominated

ACM Awards      Album of the Year – It Won’t Be the Last                Nominated

Top Male Vocalist            Nominated

1995       University of California, Berkley                Popular Cultural Society’s Innovator Award          Won

State of South Carolina Humanitarian Award      Won

Bob Hope Congressional Medal of Honor Society              Entertainer’s Award        Won

Country Music Cares      Humanitarian Award      Won

1996       Country Radio Seminar Won

VFW Hall of Fame                            Inducted

1997       TNN/Music City News Awards   Entertainer of the Year Nominated

Male Artist of the Year Nominated

Album of the Year – Trail of Tears              Nominated

Single of the Year – “Trail of Tears”           Won

Video of the Year – “Trail of Tears”           Nominated

Modern Screen’s Country Music Magazine          Entertainer and Male Artist         Won

Air Force Sergeants Awards        Americanism Award       Won

1998       TNN/Music City News Awards   Entertainer of the Year Nominated

Male Artist of the Year Won

Album of the Year – The Best of Billy Ray Cyrus: Cover to Cover Won

Single of the Year – “It’s All The Same To Me”      Won

Song of the Year – “It’s All The Same To Me”        Won

Video of the Year – “Three Little Words”                Won

Modern Screen’s Country Music Magazine          Entertainer and Male Artist         Won

1999       Modern Screen’s Country Music Magazine          Entertainer and Male Artist         Won

International Entertainment Buyers Association                Humanitarian of the Year             Won

Music Row Magazine     Video of the Year for “Give My Heart to You”     Won

2004       Dove Awards     Country Album of the Year – The Other Side        Nominated

2005       Dove Awards     Country Song of the Year – “The Other Side”       Nominated

MovieGuide Awards      Grace Awards for Doc in “Happy Trails” Nominated

2008       CMT Music Awards         Tearjerker Video of the Year – “Ready, Set, Don’t Go”     Nominated

BMI Songwriter of the Year         Top 50 Most Played Songs of 2008 – “Ready, Set, Don’t Go”          Won

2009       Teen Choice Awards       Choice TV Parental Unit – Hannah Montana         Won

American Music Awards               Favorite Soundtrack – Hannah Montana: The Movie

(as a member of the Various Artists)       Nominated

2010       GMC Video Awards        Favorite Country Video – “Somebody Said a Prayer”        Nominated

Golden Raspberry Awards           Worst Supporting Actor – Hannah Montana: The Movie                 Won

MovieGuide Awards      Grace Awards for Christmas in Canaan (with Matt Ward)               Nominated

American Society of Young Musicians Awards     Best Country Artist          Won


Main article: Billy Ray Cyrus discography

Studio albums

Year       Album   Record label

1992       Some Gave All   PolyGram/Mercury

1993       It Won’t Be the Last

1994       Storm in the Heartland

1996       Trail of Tears

1998       Shot Full of Love               Mercury Nashville

2000       Southern Rain   Monument Records

2003       Time Flies            Madacy/Sony BMG

The Other Side Word/Curb/Warner Bros. Nashville

2006       Wanna Be Your Joe         New Door/UMe

2007       Home at Last      Walt Disney Records

2009       Back to Tennessee          Lyric Street Records

2010       I’m American     Walt Disney Records

Compilation albums

Year       Album   Record label

1997       The Best of Billy Ray Cyrus: Cover to Cover           PolyGram/Mercury

2001       Achy Breaky Heart           Spectrum Music

2003       20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection            Mercury Nashville

2004       The Definitive Collection

2005       The Collection   Madacy/Sony BMG

2008       Love Songs         Mercury Nashville

2009       The Best of Billy Ray Cyrus           Universal Music Canada


Year       Album   Record label

2009       iTunes Live from London              iTunes UK

[edit] Filmography


Year       Film        Role       Notes

2001       Radical Jack         Jack        Main role

2002       Mulholland Drive             Gene

Wish You Were Dead     Dean Longo

2004       Death and Texas              Spoade Perkins

Elvis Has Left the Building             Hank

2008       Bait Shop             Hot Rod Johnson              Main role

Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert    Himself

2009       Flying By              George Barron

Hannah Montana: The Movie     Robby Ray Stewart

Christmas in Canaan       Daniel Burton    Main role; Hallmark Channel exclusive

2010       The Spy Next Door          Colton James     Main role


Year       Film        Role       Notes

1995       The Nanny          Himself                 1 episode; “A Kiss Is Just a Kiss”

1997       Diagnosis Murder            1 episode; “Murder, Country Style”

1999       The Love Boat: The Next Wave Lasso Larry Larsen            1 episode; “Divorce, Downbeat and Distemper”

2000       18 Wheels of Justice       Henry Conners 1 episode; “Games of Chance”

2001       Doc        Dr. Clint Cassidy                88 episodes; 2001–2004

2002       Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye      1 episode; “Pilot”

2003       Degrassi: The Next Generation Lime Drive, Duke              1 episode; “The Power of Love”

2006       Hannah Montana             Robby Ray Stewart          Main role (2006–Present)

2007       Billy Ray Cyrus: Home at Last       Himself                 4 episodes; aired on CMT

Dancing with the Stars   17 episodes; finished in 5th place

2008       Hillbilly: The Real Story   hosted special on the History Channel

2008 CMT Music Awards               co-hosted with Miley Cyrus

Nashville Star     co-hosted with Katie Cook

Phineas and Ferb             Buck Buckerson                1 episode; “It’s a Mud, Mud, Mud, Mud World”

Studio DC: Almost Live   Himself                 performed “Ready, Set, Don’t Go”

2009       Hannah Montana: The Movie – Behind the Scenes           hosted special on GAC

2011       UFO: Unbelievably Freakin’ Obvious       Main role; upcoming series

Homecoming     upcoming series on TLC

Music video

Year       Video    Artist     Notes

1993       “Romeo”             Dolly Parton, Kathy Mattea, Mary Chapin

Carpenter, Tanya Tucker, and Pam Tillis

2009       “Seventeen Forever”     Metro Station

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