Hurt (2002) – Johnny Cash

Hurt is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from its second studio album. Johnny Cash covered the song in a different way to the original for his wife. The song as shown in the video is one of the most remarkable musical montages I have seen in the last 2 decades. In the beginning Cash had his doubts about making the cover saying ‘I can’t do that song. It’s not my style”.

Songwriter for Nine Inch Nails Reznor recalled ‘I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone”. But he praised Cash’s interpretation of the song for its “sincerity and meaning” going so far as to say “that song isn’t mine anymore.” Reznor continued “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 an important medium music is.”

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become
My sweetest friend?
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I think many people who are suffering have a song in them or at least a passage of thought. I was in a bad way 2 years ago (and continue to struggle), and just after midnight while playing ‘Tetris’ on my no thrills Nokia phone, these ideas and concepts just came pouring in. It was like my sub conscious or other unspecified medium communicating to my damaged self. It felt profound and I was compelled to grab a piece of paper and just scribble these things down. Soon thereafter I transcribed it here and then felt a great relief. The Last Words was like a roadmap for my soul.

Cash’s cover of the song has sold more than 2 million downloads in the United States. The version has appeared in several films, documentaries and TV shows. His cover is widely considered one of his best works. When the video was filmed in February 2003, Cash was 71 years old and had serious health problems. His frailty is clearly evident in the video. He died seven months later, on September 12; his wife, June Carter Cash, who is shown gazing at her husband in two sequences of the video, had died on May 15 of the same year. The video below features images from Cash’s life and was named the best video of the year by the Grammy Awards.

1. Hurt (Nine Inch Nails song) – wikipedia
2. The Story of Johnny Cash’s Haunting Hurt – Loudersound

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
15 comments on “Hurt (2002) – Johnny Cash
  1. Badfinger (Max) says:

    I just wrote about this one on someone else’s blog that was published a month or so ago…. Johnny owns this song. I can feel this song deep inside me. This is one Matt that the video is terrific and goes along with the song…I don’t say that many times.

    • Hey Max, I hope this message finds you in good spirits and a house less cluttered. Hehe. I agree, the video is monumental and carries in part the song. Huge fan of this one.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        Yes lol…a little less cluttered. Bailey’s girl is here and everything is going well. She is in culture shock on how big everything is in America compared to Germany.
        Bailey is going to take her to a 1,154,000 square foot mall lol.

        She just got here last night….the one difference she said was the choices at a grocery store….we have 10 different kinds of Peanut Butter etc…. I think America does overkill on a lot of things.

        I am also… I have it lined up for my blog when I start back Friday…I have really missed this Matt.

      • I hope you have a marvellous time. I’ve been hearing that Germany is having a tough time with electricity hikes and basically adjusting to the break- up of Globalism.

        I look forward to reading the article. I’m listening to the R.E.M song you posted as we speak. Pretty good.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        Yes I’ve read that also…I can’t wait to get to talk to her about Germany. The country always interested me. Matt…many Germans think Americans walk down the street like in a western with a gun holsters lol… She is a really good person…I don’t see how they kept up a relationship online for 3 years now….but more power to them.

        Thanks Matt I appreciate it.

      • Many Germans think that? Really? Lol ok.
        The online relationship is very common and is testament to why I live in Colombia. It’s great you think so highly of her.
        In advance I’m sorry but I have to send this comedy piece of Irishman ‘Dylan Moran’ talking about Germany. My God is it funny. I hope she is laid back lol

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        Yes they do think that. She was scared at first becasue of that…we told her…no… nothing like that.
        That is awesome lol. I’ve heard of Dylan Moran…great stuff!

      • I’m surprised she thought that. Haha
        Dylan’s awesome. I’m chuffed you like it.

        I posted for my article on Monday a skit by Rosebud Baker – ‘How Women Can Tell If an Ex Has Slept with Someone Else’ which is one of the best I’ve seen.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        She is really good Matt… I love the dog and cats comparison and the remark about fedoras lol. She doesn’t pull punches!

      • Yep Rosebud is on there. It’s potentially very offensive, but it’s intelligent and divulgitive. I admire her honesty.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        Offensive doesn’t bother me at ALL…it is the honesty I like.

      • For that reason our political compass test results were nearly equal lol

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        LOL… oh yea….the whiners who get offended at everything….welcome to life pal!

      • Haha, yeh it’s getting tiresome. Have a nice night with the German lass and your son! Cheers.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        You have a nice weekend Matt! Thanks

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