We Should Have Seen Billy Ray Cyrus’ Lil Nas X Collaboration Coming
Cutting "Old Town Road" with Lil Nas X is just the latest example of Billy Ray Cyrus flipping the bird at the establishment in the name of art and inspiration. The "Achy Breaky Heart" hitmaker has a track record of proving he doesn't give a dang what you think.
Believe it or not, not everyone thought his first hit song was a smash, even as it was becoming a Top 5 all-genre hit. Line dancing is a thing because of "Achy Breaky Heart," but from the get-go the earworm was divisive. If you weren't for it, you agreed with a major country hitmaker who feared the genre was going to become an "a-- wiggling contest" in 1992. There was no in between, and — as you'll see in this episode of The Secret History of Country Music — that's exactly how Cyrus wanted it.
Cyrus zigged and zagged between patriot and heart-melting father across a strange three-decade-long musical and acting career. He'd pay tribute to country heroes in one breath and collaborate with rappers in the next. Lil Nas X is not the singer's first foray into hip-hop — the last time he did it the results were even more scandalous!
Add in three wildly different and unexpected acting roles in Doc, Hannah Montana and Still the King and a too-soon return to the mullet in 2010 and you're left with an ambiguous character who's versatile at best and unpredictable at worst. Who is Billy Ray Cyrus as an artist? Can we even say for sure?
If one thing is clear, it's that Cyrus isn't going to worry about it, as you'll see in the above video filled with career highlights and acts of defiance. The Secret History of Country Music is a new weekly series hosted by Taste of Country News host Ania Hammar. We'll go deeper inside the stories of country music's biggest hits, moments and figures. Be sure to subscribe to Taste of Country's YouTube channel so you never miss a new episode.
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