Don’t Forget About the Time Billy Ray Cyrus Played a ‘Doc’ on TV
If you think that Billy Ray Cyrus' cross-genre team-up with Lil Nas X for the remixed version of "Old Town Road" is out of character for the country singer, then, well ... you haven't been paying much attention to Cyrus' long career of surprises.
In fact, as a young artist, Cyrus came out of the gate swinging: His debut album, Some Gave All, included the track "Achy Breaky Heart," a monster crossover hit that amassed international success, and launched a Spanish remake and a dance craze. The song, and its accompanying music video, helped launch line dancing in the country music realm in the early '90s, too.
Cyrus has always challenged country's boundaries, and from the very beginning, he caught flak for it. At the height of the song's popularity, fellow artist Travis Tritt called "Achy Breaky Heart" "frivolous," saying he hoped the song didn't turn country music into "an ass-wiggling contest."
Cyrus, then, fired back with characteristic swagger at the 1993 American Music Awards: "To those people who don't like "Achy Breaky Heart": Here's a quarter -- call someone who cares!" he said onstage, referencing Tritt's hit song.
Not only has Cyrus stepped outside of the country genre to record songs such as "Old Town Road," but he also, at various points in his career, has stepped outside music altogether. Many fans will recall his role on Hannah Montana as Robby Ray Stewart, the father of the show's main character, Hannah Stewart. While that role may not seem like much of a stretch for the singer (his television daughter was played by his real-life daughter, pop star Miley Cyrus), what might be more surprising is his main role in the early 2000s medical drama Doc.
In the series, which ran from 2001 to 2004, Cyrus portrays Clint "Doc" Cassidy, a young, small-town doctor who moves to New York City to take a new job. The show marked an impressive new turn for Cyrus, who not only acted in the titular role but also composed the theme music.
Clearly, the country star isn't afraid to take chances -- and "Old Town Road" is simply the next step in a long line of surprising career moves, collaborations and more for the country star. To learn more about the twists and turns that led him to his Lil Nas X collaboration, press play on the video above to watch the latest installment of The Secret History of Country Music, from The Boot's partner site, Taste of Country.
Country Stars Who Have Acted in TV Shows and Movies