I should have been a Johnny Cash fan, but I wasn’t. He was another Arkansan, had an outsider reputation, and had come up through hard knocks. On the other hand, his rich baritone voice lacked something; accuracy. I bought his duet album with Bob Dylan. It was almost painful to listen to it. Waylon Jennings, who was Cash’s roommate at one time, described Cash as a “song stylist” rather than a singer.
And then, by sheer accident, looking for something else, I found this:
Sometimes a song stylist is exactly what is needed. It was one of Johnny’s last recordings. What a way to go out.
“Hurt” was written in 1993 by Trent Reznor and performed by Nine Inch Nails. It was performed in 1996 by Johnny Cash. When Reznor heard Cash’s interpretation he said, “That song isn’t mine anymore.”
The “unplugged” version recorded as a single by Reznor is musically interesting. However, I found the writer’s version a little sweet compared to Cash’s raw emotional rendering.
This song seems current considering the problem with America's opioid epidemic.
I don’t know what I was listening to in the early 90s, but it wasn’t Nine Inch Nails or Johnny Cash. Glad I stumbled onto this.