Monday, December 3, 2018

"Needles and Pins" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with Stevie Nicks

Song#:  2607
Date:  02/01/1986
Debut:  75
Peak:  37
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Petty and his band were certainly known for being a solid performers, so after six studio albums, it seemed like the right time to showcase their concert skills via their first live album Pack Up the Plantation: Live! The double LP mainly featured songs from a show they did at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles in the summer of '85 with a few tracks of older performances tossed in. One of those tracks was this tune which was recorded at The Forum in L.A. in 1981. During that show, Stevie Nicks made a guest appearance and sang on a couple of songs including this one. The recording was selected to be released as a single in order to help promote the album. It did okay getting to #17 at Rock and just making it into the Pop Top 40. The album would made it to #22, but would fall short of being certified gold. The band wouldn't release another live album until 2009.

ReduxReview:  This jangly tune is an excellent one from the 60s (see below). Although it never made the Top 10, it was quite popular and has been covered a lot over the years. I always remember it because in most versions everyone sing it as "needles and pin-za," which is kind of funny, yet makes it very memorable. This was a good choice for Petty and the addition of Nicks is always a bonus. However, the performance is just kind of average. Like most live recordings (which I'm not the biggest fan of), it was probably better in-person. I do like that they pushed out a cover song instead of relying on a live version of a previous hit. That was a smart move as it played like something brand new from the band instead of a retread. I just wish the performance was a bit more lively.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song that was written by Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono (of Sonny & Cher) and first recorded by singer Jackie DeShannon. Her original take on the tune would be a very minor Pop chart entry that got to #84 in 1963. The song then got picked up by the British band The Searchers, who happened to have heard it performed by another artist in a club in Hamburg, Germany. The Searchers had already scored two major hits in the UK including the #1 "Sweet for My Sweet" (1963) and wanted "Needles and Pins" for their next single. They got it recorded and the song was another winner in the UK for them hitting #1. It would end up being their first major hit in the US reaching #13. The next time the song was on the chart was in 1977 when the English rock band Smokie covered the tune. It would get to #10 in the UK while only getting to #68 in the US. Petty's version would be the fourth and thus far final version of the song to hit the US Pop chart.


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