In 1992 pop country, potato-faced crooner Billy Ray Cyrus disseminated one of the most cringe-inducing chart-smashers of all time, Achy Breaky Heart. To merely call it a hit downplays both the song’s inescapable ubiquity and the appalling taste in art displayed by a populace that went gaga for the horrid thing. Not so much a song as a cultural happening, it was inescapable, and its influence spread like the disease that it was. It spawned an unnecessary yet fervent interest in line dancing, a formerly sacred communal dance held in high regard by true country fans which was now being co-opted by suburbanites in a desperate bid to draw closer to their mulleted, dead-eyed leader, Billy Ray Cyrus.
But Achy Breaky Heart wasn’t the only lamentable atrocity Cyrus spawned that year; he also sired a child, Destiny Hope Cyrus (barf). Over the years, Billy Ray failed to re-connect with the radio in any meaningful way, and without his sermon being played on the hour, people eventually broke free of his spell, shedding their Cyrus cult garb of K-Mart-bought Wranglers and Chinese-made, synthetic cowboy hats. While it was easy for most folks to clean their closet of any suggestion of Cyrus’ influence, what proved more difficult was trying to erase the shameful memories of participating in line dances with other deeply confused yuppies. You can’t just turn your back on your past and pretend it didn’t happen, and for most the difficulty of coming to terms with the horror head-on proved too much and they tried to bury it. Some fell back into old patterns a couple years later with Los Del Rio’s Macarena. All the while young Destiny Hope grew under her father’s strict tutelage, for he had a more sinister plan, and one that would prove to be more enduring than phase one of Cyrus’ world domination. Continue Reading