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Enamored of baseball, Billy Ray Cyrus intended to become another Johnny Bench as he grew up in Flatwoods, Ky. While attending Georgetown College on a baseball scholarship, he bought a guitar and decided immediately that athletics wasn't the proper direction for his life. Instead, he formed a band called Sly Dog with his brother and gave himself a ten-month deadline for finding a place to play. One week prior to that cutoff date, the group went to work as the house band for a club in Ironton, Ohio, where they remained for two years. When a 1984 fire destroyed the bar -- and Cyrus' equipment -- he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career.

Eventually, he returned to Kentucky and commuted regularly to Nashville in search of a record deal. Grand Ole Opry star Del Reeves got Mercury Records to take a look, and division head Harold Shedd signed him in the summer of 1990. When his first album came out in mid-1992, Cyrus -- with his good looks, sculpted body and the infectious "Achy, Breaky Heart" -- became an instant groundbreaking sensation. Spending five weeks at the top of the country charts, "Achy, Breaky Heart" made his debut album, Some Gave All, a blockbuster success. By the time it fell off the charts, it had sold over nine million copies and spent 17 weeks on the top of the pop charts.

Despite his attempts, Cyrus wasn't able to replicate the success of Some Gave All. He quickly followed the album with It Won't Be the Last in the summer of 1993. Initially, the album sold well, entering the pop charts at number three, but it fell far short of expectations by only reaching platinum status. Storm in the Heartland, delivered in the fall of 1994, managed to go gold, even though it was ignored by country radio. However, by the time it finished its chart run, Cyrus had slipped from the public's eye. When he returned with the harder-edged, introspective Trail of Tears in 1996, the album only spent four weeks on the charts and didn't even go gold. Shot Full of Love followed in 1998 and Southern Rain was issued two years later.

In March 2001, Cyrus hit TV screens in the role of a country doctor moved to Manhattan in the sitcom Doc. He returned to music world with 2003's Time Flies and Other Side. In 2006, he released I Wanna Be Your Joe and also appeared on The Disney Channel's Hannah Montana, starring his real-life daughter Miley. By the end of 2006, Miley Cyrus had her own No. 1 album when the Hannah Montana soundtrack topped the Billboard 200.

Riding on the wave of Hannah Montana's popularity, Cyrus released his 10th studio album, Home at Last, in 2007 on the Disney label. The album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard country albums chart, both re-establishing Cyrus as a presence in country music and highlighting the popularity (not to mention influence) of his daughter's show. With Miley Cyrus adding her vocals to "Ready, Set, Don't Go," a song featured on Home at Last, it reached the Top 10 on Billboard's country singles chart in 2008. Love Songs, a collection drawn from his peak years with Mercury, was released early in 2008. Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus will host the 2008 CMT Music Awards in Nashville on April 14. The two will spend much of the spring and summer of 2008 working on a feature film based on Hannah Montana. Billy Ray Cyrus is co-producing the film which will be shot in Tennessee and California.
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FilmographyMulholland Dr., Ellie Parker
Birth Date:  August 25, 1961
Birth Place:  Flatwoods, Kentucky
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