Looking back at David Bowie and Trent Reznor’s beautiful rendition of ‘Hurt’ from 1995
Nine Inch Nails’ song ‘Hurt’ is one of those tracks that grabs you from its very first note, such is the aching beauty of the 1994 song. Composed by Trent Reznor as an ode to the tragedy of addiction, it’s a song that many artists have coveted. One such artist, David Bowie, actually took to the stage with Reznor to perform the song in 1995. We take a look back at the stunning performance.
Taken from the Nine Inch Nails 1994 album Downward Spiral the song has always represented a vulnerable and veracious viewpoint. Heralded as a game-changing track since its release, ‘Hurt’ received further notoriety when Johnny Cash added his gravelly vocals to an epic cover, which often leaves ‘Hurt’ labelled as one of the country singer’s own songs.
While Cash’s rendition will be always be remembered as a great moment, the combination of another musical icon and Reznor‘s song will rank highly in our favourites. The opportunity arose following Bowie reaching out to NIN to combine their tours and create their now famous Outside Tour.
“Scary Monsters was the first one I related to. Then I went backwards and discovered the Berlin trilogy, which was full-impact,” Reznor told Rolling Stone in a reflective op-ep penned just weeks after Bowie‘s death. “I read into all the breadcrumbs he’d put out — the clues in his lyrics that reveal themselves over time, the cryptic photographs, the magazine articles — and I projected and created what he was to me. His music really helped me relate to myself and figure out who I was.”
Due to the influence, Bowie had on the now incredibly famous, and far more popular Reznor meant that NIN would open for the Thin White Duke. “We found out a way to do the show that made sense, where it all felt like one experience,” he said. “We’d play stripped-down, then David would come out and he’d do ‘Subterraneans’ with us, and then his band would come out and we’d play together, then my band would leave.”
The most beautiful moment of the set would come with the performance of ‘Hurt’. Sharing the stage the duo represented the shining light and absolving dark, each providing the crowd with their signature performances. Reznor recalled at a later date “I was outside of myself, thinking, ‘I’m standing on stage next to the most important influence I’ve ever had, and he’s singing a song I wrote in my bedroom,'”
Reznor and Bowie would collaborate again on the 1997 song and video ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’. But before you revisit that gem, take a look back at this effortlessly beautiful rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ from the duo Trent Reznor and David Bowie.