If you ask any music fan “which is the greatest music video ever made?” you will get never ending argument but possibly some consensus that it MAY be “Thriller” by Michael Jackson (given that it cost nearly $1million to produce one could argue it should be).
Over the many years I have listened to music there is one video that stands head and shoulders above all others in my opinion, and that is “Hurt” by Johnny Cash. This is a rendition of the Trent Reznor song originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails and seems an unlikely vehicle for a “good old country and western singer.”
The song was originally issued on Cash’s album American 1V: The Man Comes Around and the album received high levels of both popular and critical acclaim.
It is fair to say that Reznor had some reservations about Cash singing his most famous song but when they played him the video he was reduced to tears.
The video for Hurt showed a frail, shaking Cash in the front room of his house, miming the song amidst shots of his younger self jumping on freight train wagons and playing live on stage. His wife June Carter had died a few months earlier and there was a kind of impending foreboding that his own time on this earth was not to be long, and so it proved to be.
The combination of its affecting video and the lyrics, concerned with “empire of dust” and self-recrimination, could not help but strike a chord. It received several nominations at the MTV Video Music Awards, winning best cinematography.
At the time of his death, it seemed Cash had never been so important to the American music scene.
If you have never seen this video then watch and be moved, if you have seen it, then just watch again and be moved again.