Head Like A Hole (Nine Inch Nails Cover)

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"Head Like A Hole" is the opening track on Nine Inch Nails' 1989 debut studio album Pretty Hate Machine. The song received an almost overwhelmingly positive response from critics, and has been noted as one of the most popular tracks from the album, enjoying heavy rotation on the radio at the time of its release. Though Trent Reznor doesn't dislike the song, he was quite surpised it became as big as it did, especially due to its relatively easy writing process compared to some of the lesser recognized tracks on the album. "I don't remember what i was thinking about at the time, but it was pretty much about yelling at a beast without putting a face to it. I wrote it at the last minute as a throwaway. The rest of 'Pretty Hate Machine' was already written, and we'd revised everything else about nine times. Up until then song-writing had been a meticulous and agonising process, but this took me 15 minutes in my bedroom. The fact that it produced this huge reaction really pissed me off becuase i hadn't agonised over it. I was still back in Cleveland, and I had a job working at a studio where I'd spend time at night learning how to record and engineer things and I tried to work out how my voice sounded. I was playing everything myself but I had no confidence in playing guitar. I was convinced that if any real players heard it they'd laugh. Now i know that's bullshit but at the time I was very insecure."[1]

News about Korn recording a cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like A Hole" with Chester Bennington came out in August 2004. At the time, the band was considering cover songs for inclusion on their Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 album. Their versions of Cameo's "Word Up" and Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall" were eventually chosen for the album, with covers of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" and Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like A Hole" being saved for future use.[2]

Later that year, Jonathan Davis said "Head Like A Hole" would be included on Korn's covers album.[3] However, Korn would enter the studio in January 2005 to work on their seventh studio album, See You on the Other Side, which Jonathan Davis said would take top priority.[4]

A tentative tracklist of Korn Kovers was revealed in January 2005[5] and Korn guitarist Munky spoke about the collaboration with Chester: "Jonathan (Davis, Korn singer) originally sang the verses and he just was bugging out because he wasn't enunciating the way (NIN frontman) Trent Reznor, on that song, does the original. It was really just kind of difficult for him to do it. So we thought, 'Well, you know what? That may work out if Chester sang on the verse and it comes out good, that would be great.'"[6]

Jonathan Davis also talked about the track in the November 04, 2017 edition of Kerrang!. "Me and Chester also did a cover of Head Like A Hole by Nine Inch Nails, which has never been released. I was having problems singing the verses, and it didn't sound right to me. We were talking about it and I said, 'Will you come over to my house and do this with me?' He popped over, and it ended up sounding really good."

Chester had previously worked with Jonathan Davis on "System", and Jonathan had worked with Linkin Park on "1stp Klosr".

In between Korn parting ways with Sony Music in 2004, guitarist Brian "Head" Welch leaving the band in 2005 and drummer David Silveria leaving in 2006, the project's 2005 release didn't happen.

On July 18, 2007, a few weeks before Korn released their untitled eighth studio album, Jonathan Davis said they had started working again on the covers album, but the group had no specific timetable for recording.[7][8]

In April 2009, Fieldy revealed that, in between working with Ross Robinson on the Korn III: Remember Who You Are album, the band was still working on Korn Kovers[9] and, during a chat with fans in December 2009, he said they hoped to release it in early 2010.[10]

On July 12, 2010, Jonathan Davis took part on a Game With Fame match of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and was asked about the album. He informed everyone that the album will not be coming out due to circumstances that are holding back the release.[11]

This is most likely due to royalty issues with David Silveria, former drummer, and Brian Welch, former guitarist, who both played on most of the tracks on the album, as well as their old record label.

Chester himself said he doesn't have a copy of the song. Speaking about the cover, he said "it's awesome".[12] He has mentioned Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine as being one of his favorite albums from the 90's.[13]

Other bands who covered the song includes AFI, Still Remains, Devo, Amanda Palmer, Showbread, and Honest Bob And The Factory-to-Dealer Incentives.


Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.

Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Head Like A Hole Korn Kovers 2004
  • Nine Inch Nails cover.
  • Features vocals by Chester Bennington.
  • The entire album remains unreleased.


Korn is

  • Jonathan Davis - lead vocals
  • Brian "Head" Welch - guitars, backing vocals
  • James "Munky" Shaffer - guitars
  • Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu - bass
  • David Silveria - drums, percussion

Additional Musicians

  • Chester Bennington - vocals