Hurt (Nine Inch Nails song)

Hurt (Nine Inch Nails song)

Infobox Single
Name = Hurt
Artist = Nine Inch Nails
from Album = The Downward Spiral

Background = Yellow
Released = 1995
Format = Promotional CD
Recorded = Le Pig, Record Plant Studios, A&M Studios
Genre = Industrial rock
Length = 6 min 13 s
Label = Nothing Records, Interscope
Producer = Trent Reznor
Last single = "Burn" (1994)
This single = "Hurt" (1995)
Next single = ""The Perfect Drug" Versions" (1997)

"Hurt" is a song written by Trent Reznor, first released on Nine Inch Nails' 1994 album "The Downward Spiral". In 2002, "Hurt" was covered by Johnny Cash to critical acclaim; it was one of Cash's final hit releases before his death. Its accompanying video, featuring images from Cash's life and directed by Mark Romanek, was named the best video of the year by the Grammy Awards and Country Music Awards.


"Hurt" was never produced as a commercial single for the public. However, a promotional disc was distributed, containing censored ("clean") and uncensored ("soiled") mixes. The disc, Interscope Records PRCD 6179, is labeled "Halo Ten" though it is not considered an official Halo.

Track listing

# "Hurt" (Quiet version) Clean – 5:04
# "Hurt" (Live version) Clean – 5:15
# "Hurt" (Album version) Clean – 6:16
# "Hurt" (Quiet version) Soiled – 5:21
# "Hurt" (Live version) Soiled – 5:15
# "Hurt" (Album version) Soiled – 6:15

Chart positions

* Hot Modern Rock Tracks – #8
* Hot 100 Airplay – #54

Music video

The music video for "Hurt" is a live performance that appears on "Closure" and the DualDisc re-release of "The Downward Spiral". The audio portion appears on the UK version of "Further Down the Spiral".

A scrim had been dropped in front of the band on stage, onto which various images, such as war atrocities, a nuclear bomb test, survivors of the Battle of Stalingrad, a snake staring at the camera, and a time-lapse film of a fox decomposing in reverse, were projected to add visual symbolism (depicting various images of death, destruction and loss) to the song's subject matter. A spotlight was cast on Reznor so he could be seen through the images. Compared to the live renditions performed on future tours, this version most resembles the studio recording with its use of the song's original samples.

There are also official live recordings on the later releases "And All that Could Have Been" and "Beside You in Time". Each version features distinct instrumentation by the varying members of the band in the respective eras.

Live performance

During the "Dissonance" tour in 1995, when Nine Inch Nails opened for David Bowie, Bowie sang "Hurt" in a duet with Reznor, backed by an original melody and beat. This served as the conclusion to the dual act that began each Bowie set.

During the "Fragility" tours, the progression was performed by Robin Finck on acoustic guitar rather than on piano.

Since the 2005–06 "Live: With_Teeth" tour, Nine Inch Nails has been playing "Hurt" in a more toned-down style, featuring only Reznor on keyboard and vocals until the final chorus, when the rest of the band joins in.

However, the song has been brought back to its original form during the "Lights In The Sky" tour in 2008.

Johnny Cash's cover

Single infobox
Name = Hurt
Artist = Johnny Cash
from Album =

Released = November 3, 2003
Format =
Recorded =
Genre = Rock/Country
Length = 4:01
B-side = "Personal Jesus" "Wichita Lineman"
Label = American Recordings, Universal Music Group
Producer = Rick Rubin
Writer = Trent Reznor
Chart position = * #33 (US Modern Rock Tracks)
* #34 (US Hot Digital Songs)
* #39 (UK Singles Chart)
* #56 (US Hot Country Songs & Tracks)
Last single = "The Man Comes Around" (2002)
This single = "Hurt" (2003)
Next single = "God's Gonna Cut You Down" (2006)
Misc = External music video|Johnny Cash's " [ Hurt] " at
Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" was released on his 2002 album, "". Rick Rubin, producer of Cash's "American" series and a friend of Reznor's, suggested the song to Cash.citation The line "crown of shit" was changed to "crown of thorns", not only removing profanity from the lyrics, but also suggesting a reference to Christ. The cover was released on a single with the B-side "Personal Jesus", a cover of the Depeche Mode single.

Reznor said that when Rubin first asked if Cash could cover his song, he was "flattered" but worried that "the idea sounded a bit gimmicky." He became a fan of Cash's version, however, once he saw the music video.

The cover was given the Country Music Award for "Single of the Year" in 2003. It ranked as CMT's top video for 2003, #1 on CMT's 100 Greatest Country Music Videos the following year, and #1 on the Top 40 Most Memorable Music Videos on MuchMoreMusic's "Listed" in October 2007. As of July 2008, the single occupies the number one spot on Rate Your Music's Top Singles of the 2000s. [cite web
url =
title = Top Singles of the 2000s
publisher = Rate Your Music
accessdate = 2007-12-27
] . The song is also Cash's sole chart entry on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, where it hit #33 in 2003 [] .

The house where Cash's music video for "Hurt" was shot, which was Cash's home for nearly 30 years, was destroyed in a fire on April 10, 2007. [cite web|url=|title=Fire destroys Johnny Cash home|accessdate=2007-08-01]

TV appearances

* Cash's cover appeared in the April 16, 2008 episode of Criminal Minds.
* Cash's cover also appeared, towards the end in the January 14, 2004, Asylum episode of Smallville.
* Cash's cover was also used in a tribute video to the late Eddie Guerrero on the November 13, 2005 episode of WWE Monday Night RAW
* It appeared in an Australian child abuse awareness commercial.

Track listing

#"Hurt" – 3:38
#"Personal Jesus" – 3:21
#"Wichita Lineman" – 3:06

Other covers

"Hurt" has been covered by other artists in addition to Cash, including the following.

* Tori Amos frequently sang three or four lines of the song as an introduction to other songs during her Dew Drop Inn tour in 1996, most frequently "Caught a Lite Sneeze", and then again in 1998, as an improvisational bridge.
* Breaking Benjamin
* Sheryl Crow covered the Cash version on the television special "Tribute to Johnny Cash".
* Fightstar
* Matthew Good, acoustic tour 2006.
* Gregorian arranged the lyrics into a medieval Gregorian chant.
* Kermit the Frog is featured in an unauthorized parody called "Sad Kermit".
* Aaron Lewis of Staind covered the song during his 2007 Have Guitar, Will Travel solo acoustic tour.
* Luna Amara
* Jeff Martin
* Montezuma's Revenge
* Placebo, at the House of Blues in California in 2003.
* Damien Rice, by inserting lyrics from the song into his live performances.
* Underoath played it acoustic live
* Sevendust did a cover as a tribute to Johnny Cash.
* Westside Connection sampled the main riff for their song "The Gangsta The Killa and The Dope Dealer".
* Anathema have covered the Johnny Cash version several times live, including during their appearance at the 2007 Download Festival.
* Eddie Vedder covered the Johnny Cash version live on his 2008 solo tour.
* Absurd Minds covered the song on their 2006 EP "The Cycle".
* Feeder frontman Grant Nicholas played an acoustic cover of the song, for a BBC Radio 2 session. Although originally by Nine Inch Nails, the arrangement was based on Johnny Cash's. Later appeared on a "Napster Sessions" EP.


Further reading

* cite news
url =
title = Digital Tributes Honor Virginia Tech Victims
work = KDKA-TV
date = 2007-04-18

* cite news
url =
title = In Other Words: Trent Reznor
author = Anthony DeCurtis
work = Rolling Stone
date = 2005-06-07

External links

* " [ Hurt] " at the NinWiki
* " [ Hurt] " at Songfacts
* [ Lyrics of the versions on Halos 8, 10, 12, and 17]
* [ Cover videos]

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