Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus
I so should have titled this lesson “Creeping Death by Metallica” just for the Rick Roll effect! My 17-year old self sent in some awful hate mail over me doing this song and I found it gave me some mild PTSD. Also, I just saw some of the film clip on accident – amazing mullet!
“Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus is… well, not my favorite tune, if you couldn’t already tell! The lyrics are sort of silly, to say the least, but I’d be doing it a disservice to not acknowledge what a massive country-pop hit this was back in its heyday. Even still, if you get this one going at a barbecue, you’d probably have quite a few people perk up (for one reason or another).
You only need two chords for this one – A and E. You’re going to start with three bars of A, followed by four bars of E and one last bar of A. And that’s pretty much it! If you’re still working on your chord changes, try going through it slowly at first to make sure you’re hitting those chords right on beat 1 of each bar.
As far as strumming goes, you can keep it as simple as you’d like, the simplest being one strum per bar. Once that gets a bit old, try doubling up with two chords per bar, making sure that you’re still hitting those chord changes on time.
Once you’re comfortable there, you can try a whole heap of different strumming patterns! With such a simple rhythm and chord sequence, you can really get creative with the strumming. I’ve demonstrated the pattern on the original recording for you in the lesson, but feel free to explore some different ones. Do whatever feels and sounds right for you!
And if you ever find yourself in a bar when this song comes on and people actually get up and start line dancing, please let me know that’s still a thing!