Trent Reznor Didn’t Mind Letting Johnny Cash Sing ‘Hurt’

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Trent Reznor recently talked about his first thoughts on Johnny Cash‘s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ in an interview with GQ.

‘Hurt’ originally appeared on the band’s 1994 album ‘The Downward Spiral.’ Cash’s rendition came out in 2002 on ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around,’ after producer Rick Rubin got Reznor’s approval. Reznor shared:

“Rick Rubin, who’s a friend, asked if they could try this song. I said, ‘Sure!’ It felt odd, like they might be trying lots of songs.”

When he heard the recording later, it hit him differently: “That’s my song! It felt strange. I was working on ‘The Fragile’ and thought, ‘I’m not ready to process this right now. It’s cool, though.'”

The NIN Frontman Admired Cash’s Version

Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ video won awards at the Grammy and CMA Awards in 2004. Reznor grew to appreciate it after seeing the video:

“The song, something so personal, connecting to someone with a huge personality, then becoming a kind of farewell for him, filmed by an amazing director—it shows music’s power and importance.”

Cash passed away six months post-release. ‘American IV’ became his last studio album due to his declining health and hospitalizations during recording.

Despite Cash’s health struggles, ‘Hurt’ got six MTV VMA nods in 2003, winning for best cinematography. Reznor later said to Alternative Press that the song “isn’t just mine anymore.”

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