Johnny Cash: Hurt (Originally by Nine Inch Nails)
This sullen ballad of regret has become the quintessential example of a cover song done right. Johnny Cash was a man who had many regrets throughout his life, having spent a long time of hard living throughout his illustrious career. Towards the end of his life he began to come to grips with a lot of the past mistakes and pain he had caused, hence making his cover of Hurt that much more meaningful and impactful. Having covered the song near the end of his life, it almost serves as a self eulogy for Cash, and since his passing has become one of his most popular songs. The original work by Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails is a more creepy and processed version at time bordering on anger, but Cash was able to strip it down to an acoustic guitar, piano, and his haunting voice in a more pensive and repentant rendition.