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

Trent Reznor recently revealed his first reaction to the Johnny Cash cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ during a chat with GQ.

‘Hurt’ came out as a single from the band’s 1994 album ‘The Downward Spiral.’ Cash covered the song in 2002 for ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around,’ after the record’s producer, Rick Rubin, reached out to Reznor for permission. The singer recalled:

“Rick Rubin is a friend and called and said, ‘Would you mind if we tried this song?’ [I replied,] ‘Of course not!’ It seemed weird, [but] I assumed they’re probably doing a hundred songs.”

He commented:

“Then I get the recording a little bit later and that felt weird, because that’s my song! That big voice in there, it felt weird. I remember, I was in the middle of ‘The Fragile’ when I heard it, [and I thought,] ‘I’m not ready to process what this is right now. Cool, you know?’”

The NIN Frontman Loved Cash’s Cover

The music video for Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ won awards for the best video of the year at the Grammy and CMA Awards in 2004. Trent Reznor himself came to like his version after watching the clip. He explained:

“The thought of, ‘Here’s a thing I wrote from a very intimate place and it’s connected to someone else with a larger-than-life personality, then oddly it becomes an epitaph for his life, filmed by one of the greatest directors ever and presented in such a beautiful way,’ it reminds you of the power of music and how important it is.”

Cash passed away six months after his cover was released as a single. ‘American IV’ turned out to be his final studio album. The late singer was dealing with several health issues and was hospitalized during the recording sessions.

Still, Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ received six MTV Video Music Awards nominations in 2003 and won for best cinematography. Reznor later told Alternative Press that the song ‘isn’t mine anymore.’