Flashback to David Bowie & Trent Reznor Performing “Hurt” Live in 1995

Flashback to David Bowie & Trent Reznor Performing “Hurt” Live in 1995

Posted 12 Mar 2021
david bowie, trent reznor
David Bowie & Trent Reznor in 1995. Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images.

Nine Inch Nails’ "Hurt" is one of the most ubiquitous songs in modern music. The melancholic ode to the woes of addiction was originally composed by Trent Reznor and appeared on 1994’s The Downward Spiral album. The raw piano-led ballad sits a surprising gem amidst his heavy industrial catalogue and spans generations and genres in its appeal. 

Adding to proof that its cross-over triumph, in 2002, country icon, Johnny Cash released his own broken-down rendition of the track that weighed heavily on the misfortunes of hindsight and seemed to so perfectly sum up his own life story, that it was often labelled as the singer’s own. 

But, the version we’re looking at today features a different icon entirely – the one-and-only, David Bowie

Trent Reznor was never shy about the immense impact Bowie’s are had on his work and once told Rolling Stone: “Scary Monsters was the first one I related to. Then I went backwards and discovered the Berlin trilogy, which was full-impact. 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.”

And it seems the admiration went both ways. In 1995, on the now-famous Outside tour, Bowie asked NIN to play as his opening band and joined them on stage for a selection of songs before bringing out his own band. One of those songs was "Hurt" – check out their stunning rendition below. 

Nine Inch Nails & David Bowie | “Hurt”

Reznor later recalled: “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’.”

But, the pair’s musical bond didn’t end there. Two years later, Reznor and Bowie would collaborate again on 1997’s “I’m Afraid of Americans” which came with this cinematic music video that sees Trent chasing Bowie though the streets of New York. 

NIN w/ David Bowie | “I’m Afraid Of Americans” 

And here they are in 1995, seemingly completely at ease sharing the spotlight in this MTV interview with Kurt Loder. 

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