In 1992, the song “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus, was all over the radio. It reached #1 on the music charts in multiple countries before suddenly becoming one of the worst, most hated songs of all time.
How does a popular song everyone loves because something no one ever wants to hear again?
I don’t get it.
Everybody liked Billy Ray. Even my grandmother was obsessed with him. She had a life size cardboard cutout of him in her living room. He sent her a birthday card for her 92nd birthday.
How could somebody hate a singer who would send a birthday card to a 92 year old woman?
I guess that’s neither here nor there, but the song was without a doubt a worldwide hit. It quickly went to #1 on the US Hot Country chart, as well as being #1 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and many other places. The record went platinum in the US and Australia.
That’s pretty big.
Lots of people not only liked the song, but they also went to the store and spent their hard earned money on it (remember when people did that?). They spent so much it made Billy Ray a millionaire pretty quick, then something happened…
The song and Billy Ray both became a joke.
Back in the days when I was a DJ, I played the song often because it was highly requested. The dance floor would be packed whenever the song came on. Ladies (and probably some men) couldn’t get enough of Billy Ray Cyrus.
But after the Achy Breaky apocalypse, it was the exact opposite.
The new request was “I DARE you to play that song”.
No self respecting DJ would be caught dead playing the song ever again because it was a surefire way to clear a dance floor instantly.
Luckily, I was a rebel DJ who lacked self respect.
Maybe 10 years or so later, I once again started dropping the song into a mix set occasionally (but heavily remixed). People often stared at me when they heard the hook, but it worked. Rather than throwing things at me, they danced, they laughed and they were reminded of a kinder, gentler time.
Nobody really “liked” the song in the 2000’s, but it had somehow become “nostalgic”, just like many other songs before it (think Stayin Alive, YMCA, Ice Ice Baby, Macarena, etc.).
Now that Billy Ray has gone hip hop with his song “Old Town Road” featuring Lil Nas X, Achy Breaky Heart might see a momentary resurgence as a new generation discovers the man who had such an influence on our society (he IS the father of Miley Cyrus after all).
If Miley was never born, what we do without “Party in the USA”, and need I remind you about Hannah Montana???
What’s sad but true is the Justin Bieber songs we hate today probably be popular again in 10 or 20 years (if that doesn’t give you nightmares, I don’t know what will).
As they say, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
Before you toss away that song you’re sick of, just remember it might come back to bite you again someday later on…
Just dance and be happy.
Marty is a writer and veteran dance music DJ based in Kansas City. If you enjoyed this post, follow Marty’s blog for more. Feel free to “like” and share too!