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Why Did Billy Ray Cyrus Record ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ in Spanish?

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He says it just came naturally, and if you know the history of Billy Ray Cyrus‘ “Achy Breaky Heart,” you’d agree. The new Spanish version of the song is the second of three new versions the singer is releasing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his biggest hit.

Immediately after Cyrus released the song in 1992, a Mexican band called Caballo Dorado turned “Achy Breaky Heart” into a Spanish language hit. Cyrus tells Taste of Country their version is nearly as big in Mexico as his was in America, so for this new Muscle Shoals version, he invited them to join.

Technically Cyrus doesn’t sing in Spanish. He lets Caballo Dorado do that, but they weave around each other in two languages. As for the sound, he says he was going for a version that sounded more like writer Don Von Tress’ demo, and that’s what fans hear.

“A lot of people don’t know that Billy did a Portuguese version back in the late ’90 with a group from Brazil that was a huge hit in South America,” Von Tress adds. “The infectious groove of that song kinda lends itself to that romantic language.”

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The singer and Still the King (CMT) star concedes that he’s not quite fluent in Spanish, but he embraces these opportunities because it’s a chance to make his message universal. “A lot of that language, whether it’s Spanish or Portuguese, it’s all about feeling and it just goes really well with the lyrics that Don and I write,” Cyrus says.

The 25th anniversary of “Achy Breaky Heart” was technically in March. It was a massive hit that was to a large degree polarizing. Dozens if not hundreds of cover versions have been released since 1992, giving Cyrus’ song social and cultural relevance even after all these years. Expect an EDM version of the song with Bootsy Collins soon. Several years ago rapper Buck 22 released a rap version — the country star participated in the song and sexy music video.

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