“In the Heart of a Woman”
Billy Ray Cyrus
Written by Brett Cartwright and Keith Hinton
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
September 10, 1993
Billy Ray Cyrus scores his third and final No. 1 country single to date.
The Road to No. 1
By the time Billy Ray Cyrus was releasing his second album, his first was already 7x platinum, on its way to nine million in certified sales. However, radio was already hedging on the wildly popular project. After two No. 1 singles, the third – “Wher’m I Gonna Live?” – missed the top twenty. A fourth single, “She’s Not Cryin’ Anymore,” returned Cyrus to the top ten, but the final single, “Some Gave All,” missed the top forty entirely.
Mercury got radio back on board for the lead single from It Won’t Be The Last, but as far as No. 1 singles on the country chart go, it very much would be the last.
The No. 1
“In the Heart of a Woman” is a great record and it achieves what a successful sophomore lead-off single should. It reminds listeners of what was appealing about Billy Ray’s first set, while building on that foundation with a stronger melodic hook and more mature lyrical content.
Unfortunately, Cyrus was already being perceived as a one hit wonder, despite him enjoying his fourth major radio hit. So “In the Heart of a Woman” feels like a lost classic these days, a window into what could’ve been a long running radio career if the artist’s popularity with record buyers had weighed more heavily on the decision makers at country radio.
The Road From No. 1
It Won’t Be the Last quickly went platinum, but radio enthusiasm waned. “Somebody New” went top ten, and the excellent “Words By Heart” didn’t quite get there. And then, the bottom fell out. The album’s final single, “Talk Some,” barely charted. Cyrus followed with Storm in the Heartland, which produced a top forty hit in its title track and managed to go gold.
Cyrus persevered, releasing the critically acclaimed Trail of Tears album and having a handful of additional hits. “Busy Man” went top five in early 1999, and his duet with daughter Miley Cyrus, “Ready, Set, Don’t Go,” also went top five in 2007.
Cyrus continued to record and release independent projects, before suddenly resurfacing on one of the biggest hits in music history. Adding a featured verse to Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” Billy Ray Cyrus scored his first No. 1 pop hit, which just happened to become the longest-running No. 1 single of all time. “Old Town Road” is the only song to date that’s been certified 15x platinum, and it earned Cyrus the first two Grammy Awards of his career: Best Pop Vocal Duo/Group Performance and Best Music Video. He also won his second CMA Award for Musical Event in 2019, a full 27 years after he took home Single of the Year for “Achy Breaky Heart.”
“In the Heart of a Woman” gets a B+.
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