EXCLUSIVE: Billy Ray Cyrus on Revamping 'Achy Breaky Heart,' Why His Marriage to Tish Is 'Stronger' Than Ever
As "Achy Breaky Heart" turns 25, Billy Ray Cyrus' signature song seems as relevant as ever.
"I do feel that when you look at America and our world 25 years ago, that there was a great division, not only in America, but worldwide," Cyrus tells ET's Nancy O'Dell. "You look at it today and, in some ways, it's unfortunate that it has gone full circle. 'Achy Breaky' was always about uniting people, a bridge to bring people together and when you get with other people that sing or speak in a different language or dance to a different song or live in a different country but you have a common denominator of just a fun little song that people know the words to and they like to dance to it, that's the ultimate show of joy for a human -- to dance and sing."
In honor of the milestone, Cyrus has reimagined the hit together with its original writer, Don Von Tress, for brand new versions of the track -- including one with Ronnie Milsap on keyboard and one recorded entirely in Spanish.
"I heard [Von Tress'] demo and fell in love with it," Cyrus recalls. "It was kind of Southern swamp, kind of a neanderthalic rock groove. I always felt like the record could have been bigger if I would cut it like Don Von Tress' demo, so we started talking about a 25 year re-cut anniversary and I said, 'I'll do it on one condition: I want to sound just like your demo.' And he said, 'Well, you're going to need to come to Muscle Shoals, Alabama.'
"So we booked a place, appropriately, the studio is called The NuttHouse," he adds. "I've never felt more at home, like I was born to record at The NuttHouse. ... It's called the home of the groove, Muscle Shoals, and it's for a reason. There's something special coming out of Muscle Shoals."
For the Spanish version, titled "No Rompas Mas Mi Corazon," Cyrus teamed up with Mexican quintet Caballo Dorado, who had famously covered the hit back in the '90s.
"That song was always a bridge to bring people together," Cyrus says. "We sent our track from Muscle Shoals to them in Mexico. They're singing with me and I've now learned to sing in Spanish, which I really love doing."
See Cyrus deliver an impromptu rendition of the song in the video above!
The Cyrus clan has been busy heading into 2017. Daughters Miley and Noah are releasing new original music, while wife Tish and daughter Brandi are teaming up for an interior design reality show called Cyrus vs. Cyrus. The Still the King actor says that he filmed "a couple" of cameos for the project.
"They did six episodes, it's on Bravo, and there is a spectacular finale that includes the entire family," he teased. "If I say anymore she will kill me."
The show's premise may be a competition, but Cyrus admits that he's a biased judge.
"Tish [is] the boss and she's always right, no matter what," he jokes. "I'm telling you, she is always right."
The couple celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary in December, and despite a few years of being on-again and off-again with the relationship, Cyrus tells ET that their marriage is now rock solid.
"Man, we are so together," he says. "It's so good. I think sometimes you have to evaluate where you have been, where you're at, and where you're going, and we kind of took a look at, gosh, man, we did all of this and came all of this far! To just say that it didn't mean anything, we said, 'No. The other opinion, man, let's be stronger.'
"We like that stronger thing, that kind of turned us on," he continues. "To look at our family, everybody is happy and they need us. We're Mom and Dad -- we're not just Billy Ray or Tish ... We're family and that was the most important thing of all. We couldn't throw that away."
Cyrus also opened up about Miley's relationship with Liam Hemsworth and what to expect from her next musical chapter. Watch below!