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Johnny Cash – Hurt

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Johnny Cash, one of the greatest and most influential singers of all time. In a career spanning almost fifty years, he released an astonishing 96 albums and 153 singles.

Ten years ago almost to the day, he released a stark, emotional cover of Nine Inch Nails’ album track Hurt. The final version of the song moved NIN singer Trent Reznor to say “The song isn’t mine anymore”, which goes some way to describing just how powerful Cash’s cracked vocals were on the track.

The release of the track was paired with a beautiful video, shot by Mark Romanek, which serves as an epitaph to the great and glorious career of The Man In Black. Capturing images from Cash’s past, coupled with ominous religious iconary and footage of Johnny and June (Carter-Cash, his loyal wife of 35 years) in their last days.

Three months after the song was released, June died. Within four months of that, Johnny lost his battle with diabetes. At the end of an immensely successful career, there is no more fitting and heart-wrenching footnote than Hurt.

By Harry Harland