The song “Needles and Pins” was written by Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono (yes, the Sonny Bono of Sonny and Cher) . Jackie DeShannon first recorded it in 1963, and it was a minor hit in the U.S., going to #84 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, but it went to #1 in Canada. The Searchers, who were from Liverpool, England, wanted to record it when they heard Cliff Bennett form the song at a club in Hamburg, Germany. Indeed, they did. In 1964, it went to #1 in the U.K., Ireland, and South Africa. It went to #2 in Australia, #8 in Germany and Norway, and #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song was also on their 1964 It’s the Searchers album. Ah, now the song is part of sixties British music.
There have been many covers of the song, including versions by Cher, The Ramones, Crack the Sky, Willy DeVille, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Smokie, The Turtles, Ultima Thule, and Petula Clark.
The Searchers got their name from the 1956 Western The Searchers, which was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne. They formed in 1959 and were part of the 1960s Merseybeat scene, which also gave us The Beatles, The Hollies, The Fourmost, The Mersey Beats, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and The Swinging Blue Jeans. There have been lineup changes over the years, but for “Needles and Pins,” group members of The Searchers were John McNally, Mike Pender, Chris Curtis, and Tony Jackson. The group continues to tour and perform.