Although their biggest record in the US was the #3 charting cover of The Clover’s “Love Potion No. 9,” The Searchers may be best known stateside for their recording of “Needles and Pins.” It was a #1 record in the UK, South Africa, and Ireland, but only charted at #13 in the US. Despite its mid charting success, it still is a staple of oldies radio. If I had a dollar for every bad joke that was told by a radio jock in reference to their phrasing of “needles and pinza,” I would be a very rich man.
Like “Love Potion No. 9” and many of their other hits, “Needles and Pinza” (sorry I couldn’t resist – and I just gave myself a dollar) was a cover. Jackie DeShannon had the original recording of “Needles and Pins” in 1963, but it had a dismal chart showing in the US only peaking at #83 for the singer originally known as Sharon Lee Myers. Her version is slower, but also uses the “pinza” pronunciation.
Although DeShannon recorded it first, the band first heard it performed live by Cliff Bennett. “Needles and Pins” was co-written by Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono – Bono would later become a Kapp recording artist and Cher would release it as a single as well. I particularly like The Searchers use of an electric 12-string guitar as the primary rhythm instrument.