Billy Ray Cyrus Once Called Out Travis Tritt At An Awards Show After Travis Bashed “Achy Breaky Heart”

Billy Ray Cyrus
American Music Awards

Broke his achy breaky heart…

Country music doesn’t have many good feuds these days. Other than Jason Aldean and Maren Morris, the guys in Florida Georgia Line, and Kane Brown and directions on his own property, we haven’t really seen much beef in country lately.

But back in the ’90s, we had a battle of the mullets for the ages.

Of course in the early ’90s, Travis Tritt burst onto the scene as part of the famous “Class of ’89” and changed the sound of country music with his neo-traditional, southern rock-infused style. And his glorious mullet, but that’s a different story.

And then in 1992, another mulleted country singer, Billy Ray Cyrus, came along and blew up on the country charts with his debut hit, “Achy Breaky Heart.”

But Travis Tritt wasn’t a huge fan of the song.

Travis took a couple of public swipes at the song, criticizing it in an interview with the Associated Press for not having much substance – and making Billy Ray seem more popular than he really was:

“I’ll be honest – I don’t think Achy Breaky Heart makes much of a statement. I just don’t care much for the song…

I didn’t care for the way the video was presented – as if he were drawing 15,000 people into a concert hall. He’s stepping out of a limousine and being mobbed as he goes into a concert. This is a guy that’s not even been recognized yet – this is his first single.”

And in another interview, Tritt said that he didn’t like the direction that “Achy Breaky Heart” was taking country music:

”What we’re going to have to do to be popular in country music is get into an ass-wiggling contest (with) one another.”

(I think Luke Bryan took those comments a little too seriously).

But for his part, Billy Ray fired back at the criticism from Tritt, calling him “bitter” and suggesting his hatred for the song was actually a personal problem:

“I went a long time without saying anything at all about Travis, out of respect for myself, my fans and country music. Finally, I had to say, ‘Enough is enough. Let it rest.’ But obviously his problem is stemmed much deeper that that. He has a personal problem, and at this point there’s nothing I can do or say to help the man.

I think he needs help. I think his bitterness for me is so deeply embedded inside him that until he gets rid of that, it will eat at him like a cancer, ’cause you can’t have that negative of a feeling for someone and carry it around. Inevitably, you will self-destruct.”

And Billy Ray took a public shot at Travis Tritt while accepting the American Music Award for Favorite Country Song in 1993:

“I want to tell you something. There have been those people, perhaps due to paranoia or insecurities, or perhaps they consider themselves a self-proclaimed critic. 

But tonight this award is from you to fans, is it not? And as far as I’m concerned, to those people who don’t like Achy Breaky Heart, here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.”

Pretty obvious who he was referring to, since he used the title for Tritt’s hit song “Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)” in his speech…

For his part, Travis would later walk back his comments, admitting that he made a mistake by publicly criticizing Billy Ray:

“You just don’t say anything negative about anybody. Period.”

And they seemed to have squashed their beef over the years: Both appeared together at a memorial for Waylon Jennings, who both considered a friend, back in 2003.

I just wish there were more people like Travis Tritt these days who would call out some of the sh*tty music coming out of Nashville now…


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock