I'd been friends with Rick Rubin for several years. He called me to ask how I'd feel if Johnny Cash covered Hurt. I said I'd be very flattered but was given no indication it would actually be recorded.
Two weeks went by. Then I got a CD in the post. I listened to it and it was very strange. It was this other person inhabiting my most personal song. I'd known where I was when I wrote it. I know what I was thinking about. I know how I felt. Hearing it was like someone kissing your girlfriend. It felt invasive.
It really, really made sense and I thought, "What a powerful piece of art."
I never got to meet Johnny but I'm happy I contributed the way I did. It felt like a warm hug. For anyone who hasn't seen it, I highly recommend checking it out. I have goose bumps right now thinking about it.
Having Johnny Cash, one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time, want to cover your song, that's something that matters to me. It's not so much what other people think but the fact that this guy felt that it was worthy of interpreting.
He said afterwards it was a song that sounds like one he would have written in the '60s and that's wonderful.|
-Trent Reznor (source)