Success is not as simple or charming as it seems. Not necessarily a phenomenal bout of early success will mean that it is going to be a smooth ride from that point onwards. And I am sure few know that as well as Billy Ray Cyrus.
To the general public, he is always going to be associated with his monster hit from 1992, “Achy Breaky Heart”. As it is (very accurately) said elsewhere, it was to be the song that would make him and break him. The song must have been one of the most played tunes of the 90s. In South America, it was still being played like the first day well into 1995. And in the States, it caused a true mania that included an “Achy Breaky Dance” – the first time such a thing had happened with a country song.
Alas, Billy was unable to sustain that burst of success. In a certain sense, that was to be expected – I mean, had he kept that streak he would have displaced just anybody who ever set foot on a stage – Elvis, The Beatles… anybody would have paled in comparison.
There are two facts that make that lack of true posterior successes a sad tale indeed. First of all, on his second album he didn’t just attempt to replicate the formula but he tried to move forwards to avoid the pitfall of “the Achy Break Heart guy”. And he did fine, but it was not enough to dispel the aura.
Secondly (and what I find the most saddening) is that the guy is good. He has talent – just listen to every album he released after his debut. No discerning person who listens to “Southern Rain” (2009) could argue that the album is more than acceptable. The same goes for his second disc, “It Won’t Be The Last” (1993). Actually, his first record (“Some Gave All”, 1992) is the one of his I like the least.
What is it the Chinese say? “Be careful what you wish for… you might get it”. That is the moral of Billy’s story for us, the onlookers. If the guy was a no-hoper, then I wouldn’t care less. But just merely scratching the surface reveals that he had far more than one monumental hit in him. The story is not over yet, of course. Maybe one day there will be another song of his that will rank alongside the achy breaky number. I, for one, would love to see that day come.