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Oak Ridge Boys Passed on Song

July 26, 1998 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Instead of hip-swiveling Billy Ray Cyrus making ``Achy Breaky Heart″ a country dance anthem, imagine if the former gospel quartet the Oak Ridge Boys had recorded the song.

The group, which crossed over to country stardom in the late 1970s, was offered the tune several years before Cyrus turned it into a monster hit in 1992.

They passed.

``It’s one of the few times we kind of tanked,″ said group member Joe Bonsall in the Aug. 4 issue of Country Weekly magazine.

``Duane Allen, our lead vocalist, said that he didn’t like the words `achy breaky.′ Duane still shakes his head about that one today.″

The Oak Ridge Boys, also featuring Richard Sterban and William Lee Golden, peaked with the 1981 hit ``Elvira.″ Their list of 17 No. 1 hits also includes ``Bobbie Sue″ and ``American Made.″