Johnny Cash's 'Hurt' still the greatest country video

I got sucked into CMT’s 100 Greatest Videos countdown this weekend. Anyone else? It was an update on the channel’s 2004 special, which you could tell from recent additions like Sugarland’s "Stay" (No. 10), Carrie Underwood’s "Before He Cheats" (No. 9), and Kenny Chesney’s "You Save Me" (No. 8). Johnny Cash’s cover of "Hurt" (below) remained the No. 1 video, rightfully. I’m wondering if the Dixie Chicks’ "Not Ready to Make Nice" shouldn’t have entered the countdown higher than No. 36. The Chicks were represented in the Top 10 with "Goodbye Earl" (No. 7), so I’m not crying foul. I’m just suggesting that Natalie Maines fighting to keep her backbone is a slightly more empowering sight than Shania Twain exercising the right to bare her midriff ("Any Man of Mine" was No. 31).

After the jump, the Top 10 videos.

10. Sugarland’s "Stay"
9. Carrie Underwood’s "Before He Cheats"
8. Kenny Chesney’s "You Save Me"
7. The Dixie Chicks’ "Goodbye Earl"
6. Shania Twain’s "The Woman in Me (Needs the Man in You)"
5. Hank Williams Jr.’s "All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight"
4. Faith Hill’s "Breathe"
3. Martina McBride’s "Independence Day"
2. Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss "Whiskey Lullaby"
1. Johnny Cash’s "Hurt"


Comments (19 total) Add your comment
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  • Snarf

    I love it when an artist does a cover and makes the song “theirs”. Johnny Cash singing “Hurt” was way more poignant then the original version (which was very good to begin with)

  • Chip1

    Surely “The Dance” or “The Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks should have been in the top ten. And “Is There Life Out There” by Reba McEntire.
    Where are the “classics”?

  • Nicole

    I watched bits and pieces of the countdown. It’s amazing how Shania Twain’s belly button managed to get her on the list so many times.

  • paige

    Hurt is one of the very best videos ever made. Mark Romanek is a genius

  • Lynny

    “Hurt” video is a piece of art. It does more than other videos, causes a real emotional reaction. Just beautiful.

  • bleh

    Hurt is very powerful because you know Cash lived it.
    I don’t get why some of these videos are on there. Probably because they were ‘ground breaking’?
    Goodbye Earl…yuck!

  • MrKitty

    I know what you mean about being sucked in…on a recommendation from son, I started the 7 Ages of Rock on VH1 Classics and was bleary eyed when I finished the 7th hour….and felt really, really old.

  • Jer

    I actually wrote yesterday about how mad this countdown made me. Not so much because song x should have been higher/lower, but because it was of that “Best Week Ever” method of music videos that we get now, where the likes of Ali Landry and Kellie Pickler and other country music “necessities” appear in Pop-Up boxes on the screen and talk over the already-edited songs. I was so excited when I saw this was on, and then couldn’t watch as they jabbered over Seminole Wind… It’s why I can’t watch VH1’s Top 20 anymore either… Incredibly disappointing. If ever there is a time to shut up and let the music/video speak for themselves, it’s when they’re the best 100 ever.

  • Liz

    oh whatever.
    Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt is good and the video is very good but it does NOT top Trent Reznor’s, WHO WROTE THE SONG. He is the one who lived that song.

    • Theo

      Johnny Cash, appropriately, gave a bunch of credit to Reznor for this song. You couldn’t say though, that Cash didn’t live this and claim to know his life story. If you know, then this song just haunts you.

  • jill

    It is not Shania’s belly button that got her on the list so many times, it is the fact that she took country music videos to another level and is the biggest country female of alltime.
    She took risks and she has the best videos in music history, not just country.
    Shania is a globa icon worth hundreds of millions of dollars and all her videos deserve to be on the list.
    She was the first female country artist to take videos to another level and it has nothing to do with her belly button, its her charisma and star power.

  • Red

    I watched most of this marathon – really addicting. I agree, though, that it would have been nice to see each video unedited and uninterrupted. And Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” not only is the best Country video, but one of the best videos EVER. If you can watch it without crying or tearing up, you are a stone. It takes a lot of courage to look at your mortality so bluntly and without any vanity. Johnny Cash had that kind of courage.

  • Erin

    The “Before He Cheats” video is awful, if only because of the lame computer-generated shot of the truck at the end. What, Underwood isn’t bit enough to get Ford (or whomever) to donate an actual truck to destroy? That shot ruins the whole thing.

  • JoeC

    It’s ironic that they would rank ‘Hurt’ and ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’ when while those songs/videos were singles, CMT didn’t play them! ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’ was rejected by country radio, I know. And as far as showing Shania’s midriff? Keep doing it, lol…

  • Tanyia

    Does anyone know where I can find the complete list online?

  • to Liz

    Everyone knows that Cash’s “Hurt” is a cover – it’s part of what makes it such an amazing song. And the reason he probably chose to cover it is that he’s lived those lyrics himself. Save your “oh whatever” for when you know what you’re talking about.

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