The Music Video For Johnny Cash’s Cover Of “Hurt” Was Released 21 Years Ago

YouTube/Johnny Cash VEVO

For many, Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Hurt” is considered one of the most memorable performances of all time.

Johnny Cash’s Cover of “Hurt”

Originally written and performed by the frontman of the rock band Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor, in 1995, the song, which delves into themes of self-harm and addiction, gained renewed attention when Cash recorded his rendition for his 2002 album American IV: The Man Comes Around, serving as his final album before his passing.

Cash’s version is loved for its simplicity, with a basic setup of acoustic guitar and piano backing his vocals. This simple approach lets Cash’s experienced voice shine, filling the performance with real emotion.


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Released during a period of declining health for Cash, the cover took on added significance, with many interpreting it as a reflection of his own life experiences, capturing the highs and lows of existence.

The “Hurt” Music Video

Directed by Mark Romanek, the music video for Cash’s rendition of “Hurt” blends live performance footage with snapshots from various phases of his life, including moments with his wife June Carter Cash. This visual storytelling provides a glimpse into Cash’s personal journey, adding to the emotional depth of the song.

The song proved to be a success for Cash, becoming one of the most popular performances of his extensive career. Similarly, the music video for “Hurt” garnered widespread acclaim, receiving nominations for seven MTV Music Video Awards and winning the Best Cinematography award. It also secured the Grammy for Best Video in 2004.

Sadly, Johnny Cash was unable to personally accept these awards.

Tragically, both Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash passed away shortly after the release of the “Hurt” music video. Nevertheless, Cash’s legacy is still celebrated, and his rendition of “Hurt” stands as evidence of his lasting impact on the music industry.

Watch the full video of Johnny Cash’s emotional cover of “Hurt” below.

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