The Trent Reznor Song That Johnny Cash Did Justice To

Trent Reznor is the lead vocalist and songwriter of the rock band Nine Inch Nails, which he founded in 1988. He was the only official member that stuck around until 2016. The band’s 1989 album ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ is known to be the album that brought them substantial commercial success. Besides his tenure with the band, he has contributed to several albums by other artists like Marilyn Manson and Saul Williams.

As if a successful music career was not enough, Reznor ventured into working on film and television soundtracks together with Atticus Ross. The pair worked on several David Fincher films such as ‘The Social Network,’ ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,’ ‘Gone Girl,’ and ‘Mank.’

For someone who has accomplished many incredible milestones in his life, Johnny Cash’s rendition of a Nine Inch Nails song which he had written, was the cherry on top of all the accolades he gained throughout his career.

The Nine Inch Nails Song Johnny Cash Made His Own

Johnny Cash is one of those artists that is extremely difficult to label in a particular genre. The icon has tried many different genres throughout his music career, including gospel, blues, rock, and folk. The only genre he steered away from was metal; however, his collaboration with Nine Inch Nails changed his perception. Even though Nine Inch Nails weren’t known for being a heavy metal band, they had a metal sound in their songs.

Cash favored them as his favorite metal band so much that some claimed they were his favorite. In 2002, Johnny Cash decided to cover their hit song ‘Hurt,’ which received significant commercial success and was praised by critics and fans. Trent Reznor originally wrote the song in his diary, so when he heard Cash’s version, he initially felt surprised.

After seeing the music video, he realized it wasn’t his song anymore. Cash had embraced the piece and poured his own emotions, which changed Reznor’s perception of what he initially intended for the track. Instead, he had mentioned in a previous interview that the cover meant more to him than winning something like a Grammy.

In a Classic Rock interview in April, Trent Reznor shared his thoughts about Johnny Cash’s version of ‘Hurt’:

“I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. What I had written in my diary was now superimposed on the life of this icon and sung so beautifully and emotionally. It was a reminder of what a piece of important medium music is. Goosebumps up the spine. It made sense. I thought: ‘What a powerful piece of art.’ I never got to meet Johnny, but I’m happy I contributed in the way I did. It wasn’t my song anymore.”

You can listen and watch ‘Hurt’ below.