Johnny Cash Sings "Hurt" To Sell Tennis Shoes
Reznor called "Hurt" "the first inclination for me that I could use a hand" (and not with anything sports-related). He said when he wrote it, he felt like he "was sitting in a pile of rubble and there [in "Hurt"] was a hint of regret and remorse."
Cash described "Hurt" as "the best anti-drug song I ever heard." He said, "It's a song about a man's pain and what we're capable of doing to ourselves and the possibility that we don't have to do that anymore." He was mysteriously silent on whether he found anything in the song relating to any particular brand of athletic footwear, let alone whether one provides better emotional support to professional athletes following their agony of defeat moments.
It's hard to believe that either Cash's estate or Reznor would okay a song both men have repeatedly discussed finding so meaningful. Reznor described Cash's version as feeling "like a nudge and boost and a hug from God." Why would he sell that?
Billboard.com does reveal the name of someone behind the sale, and their motivation:
Tom Rowland, senior VP of film and TV music at Universal Music Enterprises in Los Angeles, worked with the Nike team in Portland, Ore., to secure the track for the spot. Once the track was greenlighted, Rowland tipped off his European counterparts, as "they have great success in getting songs used in TV spots to the top of the charts."
All about the Benjamins, is it, Tom? Got a green soul, do you?
The ad, titled "Endure", started airing in Europe on August 24. There are reportedly "no plans" to air the spot in the U.S., but thanks to YouTube, Americans can see it anyway:
Cash's version of "Hurt":
Every copy of the video for the original song that I could find a link to at YouTube had been removed at the request of a certain large and sinister organization. If you're irked about the RIAA taking down videos from YouTube and think it's wrong, consider taking action, perhaps decide to boycott the RIAA, join the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and/or contact YouTube. Discontent plus inaction isn't useful.
Same goes if you're irked at Nike over their ad. Once they got away with using "Revolution" to sell shoes, maybe they figured anything is fair game.