This is one of the last songs Johnny Cash recorded. It is a cover of the Nine Inch Nails song Hurt.
Cash recorded it shortly before he died, shortly after he was told that he had mere days left to live. He was dying of diabetes, blind, and so weak that he couldn't make it to his studio. His performance was recorded in his home, in his living room. Only a few trusted friends were with him, plus his closest child, daughter Roseanne Cash.
Hurt was written by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, who said this about the Johnny Cash version:
I pop the video in, and wow… Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps… Wow. I felt like I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore… It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. 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. Somehow that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning — different, but every bit as pure.
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 January 2010, the single occupies the number one spot on Rate Your Music's Top Singles of the 2000s. The song is also Cash's sole chart entry on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, where it hit #33 in 2003 . In June 2009, the song was voted #1 in UpVenue's Top 10 Best Music Covers.
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.