Wednesday song of the day: Today’s song is semi-autobiographical.
Singer-songwriter John D. Loudermilk grew up in Durham, North Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s. He had a recording career of his own with a few minor country hits along the way, but he is best known as a songwriter, with several of his compositions becoming hits for other artists, including Ebony Eyes for the Everly Brothers, Indian Reservation for The Raiders ( which was Song of the Day for May 20th, 2020 here: Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) – The Raiders ), Norman for Sue Thompson, and many others.
In 1960 he recorded a song he had written about his hometown, focusing on the rougher side of the city. The song was titled Tobacco Road. As he later explained, “I got the idea for writing that song from a road in our town that was called Tobacco Road because it was where they rolled the hogsheads full of tobacco down to the river to be loaded onto barges. Along that road were a lot of real tough, seedy-type people, and your folks would have just died if they thought you ever went down there.” His recording of Tobacco Road did not sell very well at all, failing to chart in the United States, although for some reason it was mildly popular in Australia.
While it made little impact with the listening audience, other musicians took note and it was soon covered by four other artists over the following three years. None were hits though. Then in 1964, a group called the Nashville Teens (who were from Surrey, England, not Nashville) recorded a more rock version of the song. This cover of Tobacco Road was released as a single and did very well, placing at #6 on the UK singles chart, and at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. After this hit version, Tobacco Road has been covered over 90 times by other artists, including Jefferson Airplane, Edgar Winter, Roy Clark, and David Lee Roth.
As mentioned yesterday, John D. Loudermilk was best known as a songwriter for other artists, generally writing country-tinged songs like yesterday’s Tobacco Road, or Indian Reservation. One of his stranger songs was a big hit for singer Sue Thompson.
Sue Thompson’s first single was another song written by Loudermilk, Sad Movies (Make Me Cry), which reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The follow-up was also written by Loudermilk. Norman was an upbeat pop song in which the singer expresses her love for Norman, turning down several dates with other men (specifically Jimmy, Bill, and Joey) because she is so devoted to Norman. Thompson’s recording of Norman was released in 1961 and became a big hit, rising all the way to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. I have to believe that a lot of its popularity was due to novelty value, with the woman in a silly song raving about a guy with the stereotypically nerdy name that we wouldn’t normally associate with a love interest.
Sue Thompson’s first two singles were her only records to reach the Top 10. She had several lesser hits over the next few years, with her final Top 40 record coming in 1965 with another John D. Loudermilk penned song, Paper Tiger, which charted at #23. She continued recording into the mid-1970s, but never again cracked the Hot 100 chart. After her recording career ended, she mainly performed in Las Vegas casinos into the 1990s.
R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas – The Original Star Wars Cast: R2-D2/Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Friday (Christmas) song of the day: Today’s song was the first record to feature this future rock star.
Producer Meco Monardo, recording under the name Meco, had previously had a #1 hit record in 1977 with a disco version of the Star Wars Theme. Since then, he had released records of other remixed movie music, such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Wizard of Oz, and The Empire Strikes Back. In 1980, he decided to once again return to the Star Wars franchise, but this time on a Christmas theme.
The result was Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album. It featured narration and a bit of singing by Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, beeps from R2-D2, and singing from various unknowns and a group of children. The single from the album, What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb), did not do all that well, managing to make it only to #69 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song we are concerned with, however, was the B-side of that single. The song was R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas. It featured narration from Anthony Daniels and a group of singing children, but Meco had difficulty finding a lead singer for the track. He had tried singing it himself, but found that the song was more appropriate for someone with a higher voice. His co-producer, Tony Bongiovi, suggested that his younger cousin could do a good job with the song. His cousin, John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., was an 18-year-old trying to establish himself as a singer performing in small bars, and did odd jobs around the radio station that Tony managed.
They brought in John, and Meco liked his singing, so it was the first record for the young musician. He was paid $180 for the performance, which he said took about twenty minutes total. A few years later, he changed the spelling of his last name from “Bongiovi” to “Bon Jovi.” As the leader of the band named after himself, Bon Jovi, he went on to be one of the biggest stars of the 80s and 90s, recording several multi-platinum albums and filling stadiums. Bon Jovi’s 1986 Diamond-certified album, Slippery When Wet, is the 33rd highest selling album of all time, with worldwide sales of 28 million copies. But his first record didn’t even include his name on the cover, but instead was credited to two fictional robots.
Saturday song of the day: Today’s song was written by the host of The Gong Show.
Early in his entertainment career, Charles Hirsch Barris worked as a record producer and songwriter. Better known as Chuck Barris, he wrote a song in 1962 that was recorded by Freddy Cannon. The song was Palisades Park, which was inspired by a New Jersey amusement park. The song details the singer going for a night of fun at the park and finding love with a girl he met there.
Palisades Park was released in July 1962 as the B-side of Cannon’s recording of a song called June, July, and August, and as such was not expected to get radio airplay. However, a disc jockey in Flint, Michigan made a mistake and played Palisades Park instead of the record’s A-side. It got a positive response, so the station began playing it regularly. Soon other stations followed suit and Palisades Park became a local, and then national, hit. Eventually it rose to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been covered several times, including versions by The Beach Boys and The Ramones.
Despite the unexpected success as a songwriter, Chuck Barris later became a producer of TV game shows, creating such shows as The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. He remained behind the scenes until 1976, when he created the oddball talent program The Gong Show and decided to host it himself. This made him somewhat of a star instead of just a faceless game show creator. Later, in his 1984 autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (which George Clooney later made into a movie), he claimed to have been a CIA assassin during the 1960s and 1970s. The CIA, of course, denies that Chuck Barris worked for the agency.
Sunday song of the day: A popular band decided to cover today’s song after they heard it on a random compilation tape.
In 1967, a rocksteady group (Rocksteady was a musical form that fell sort of in between ska and reggae.) known as The Paragons recorded a single. The record ended up being released on two labels, Trojan and Treasure Isle. Both labels were owned by the record’s producer, Duke Reid, and operated from the same Bond Street address in Kingston, Jamaica. On some pressings the song Only a Smile was the A-side, with The Tide is High on the B-side, while on other pressings this was reversed. Regardless, while the record was well-known in Jamaica, it was a rarity in most other countries.
Then over 10 years later, members of the group Blondie heard The Tide is High on a compilation tape that someone had given them while they were on tour in England. The liked the song and decided to cover it. The Blondie version was more reggae/pop oriented and was included on their 1980 album Autoamerican. The Tide is High was released as a single in October 1980 and reached #1 on both the UK Singles chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Ownership of the song was in dispute for a while. Most of the early songs by The Paragons were credited to the band as a whole, but were actually written by John Holt, who sang lead on many of the songs, including The Tide is High. Holt left The Paragons in 1970, and years later sued to be acknowledged as the sole songwriter – and thus the recipient of royalties – for his compositions, several of which had been covered by groups such as UB40, Massive Attack, and of course, Blondie. The court agreed, and Holt was credited as the writer for these songs and regained the rights to the money that the songs earned.
Monday song of the day: Today’s song was credited to both the artist and his instrument.
With the year coming to an end, I will close out the final four days of 2020 with four songs that are related, with each building on the foundations laid by its predecessors.
Muddy Waters (born McKinley Morganfield) started performing professionally in the 1930s and his first record was released in 1941. It was not until 1948 that he began to have nationwide success, with (I Feel Like) Going Home, which placed at #11 on the R&B chart. That song was released by Aristocrat Records, and in 1950 he signed to Chicago’s Chess Records, which released some of his most iconic songs, including 1954’s Hoochie Coochie Man. (which was song of the day for August 14th, 2014 here: Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters )
Today’s song was released in December 1951 and was the first song that starts our string of four related records by three separate artists. The record was She Moves Me, a blues song about a woman that the singer can’t help but love despite the fact that she treats him badly. Like several of his early Chess records, it was credited to “Muddy Waters and His Guitar” rather than just “Muddy Waters.” The record ended up rising to #10 on the R&B chart. This made it the fifth in a string of five Top 10 R&B hits by Waters in a bit over a year.
Lyrically, She Moves Me isn’t much related to the later songs. The next three songs are all boastful rather than lamenting a bad relationship. Still, it did influence the others musically. Along with the aforementioned Hoochie Coochie Man, She Moves Me influenced Bo Diddley to write the song we will cover tomorrow.
Tuesday song of the day: Today’s song was the B-side of another classic song.
In April 1955, Ellas McDaniels, better known as Bo Diddley, released his first single, which was the classic song named after himself. Bo Diddley established the “Bo Diddley beat” used in many of his songs, as well as his tendency of using himself as a named character in many of his songs. (Bo Diddley was song of the day for November 27th, 2020 here: Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley ) The B-side of that single ended up being recognized as another classic, although not quite on the same scale.
That song was I’m a Man, which took its cues from two Muddy Waters songs. Most directly, it had a similar feel and lyrical content as Waters’ 1954 Hoochie Coochie Man. The riff was inspired by an earlier Muddy Waters record, 1951’s She Moves Me, which was discussed yesterday. I’m a Man did not use the signature Bo Diddley beat, instead relying on a more traditional blues arrangement like the two Muddy Waters songs. Muddy recognized the tribute and came up with tomorrow’s song in response.
Both Bo Diddley and I’m a Man were hits, and the two-sided single ranked at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart. The song has been covered numerous times, most notably by the Yardbirds. As a matter of fact, the Yardbirds included two different versions of I’m a Man on their second U.S. album, 1965’s Having a Rave-Up with The Yardbirds. The first was a live version recorded in 1964 with Eric Clapton on lead guitar. Clapton had left the band in early 1965, however, and had been replaced by Jeff Beck. The second version of I’m a Man on the album was a 1965 studio recording that featured Beck on guitar. This fast-paced studio cut was released as a single and rose to #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In 2012, the Bo Diddley original recording of I’m a Man, along with its A-side Bo Diddley, was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry as a “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” American recording. In 2018 it was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Wednesday song of the day: Todays song is both a re-write and an answer to yesterday’s song.
As mentioned yesterday, Bo Diddley was inspired by the Muddy Waters songs Hoochie Coochie Man and She Moves Me when writing his 1955 hit I’m a Man. Waters immediately took note of Diddley’s homage and that same year recorded his own version of I’m a Man, with some of the lyrics rewritten to reflect the differences in age and experience between the two musicians. At the time of the recording in May 1955, Muddy Waters was 42 years old and had been in the music business since the 1930s, while Bo Diddley was a relatively young 26 years old and had just begun his recording career. (By the way, today would have been Bo Diddley’s 92nd birthday.) To playfully one-up the younger man, Waters referred to the age difference in the song, which he titled Manish Boy. (Later versions corrected the spelling to Mannish Boy.)
The implication was that Diddley was merely a boy in comparison – a “mannish boy” to be sure – but not yet the “full grown man” that Muddy declared himself to be. For example, note how this portion of the original lyrics in I’m a Man compares to the rewritten lyrics sung by the older Waters in Manish Boy:
Bo Diddley’s lyric,
Now I’m a man,
You know baby,
We can have a lot of fun.
became in later Waters recordings,
But now I’m a man,
Way past twenty-one,
Want you to believe me baby,
I had lots of fun.
The new lyrics changed Bo’s statement that he had arrived as a young man to Waters’ declaration that he had been there and done that, while the younger man still had some things to learn. As a reworking of the original song, the writing credits for Manish Boy included Bo Diddley (under his real name of Ellas McDaniels) as well as Muddy Waters (under his real name of McKinley Morganfield) and Waters’ co-writer Mel London.
Manish Boy was released as a single in June 1955, just two months after Bo Diddley had released I’m a Man. It was a hit, peaking at #5 on the R&B chart just a few weeks after the original song that it answered had made #1 on the same chart. In 1986, Manish Boy was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, where it would be joined in 2018 by the induction of Diddley’s I’m a Man.
Like the song it was based upon, Manish Boy – or more properly, Mannish Boy – has been covered by numerous artists over the years. Jimi Hendrix recorded a version with the Band of Gypsys before his death in 1970, but the track was unreleased until 1994. The Rolling Stones (whose very name came from the 1950 Muddy Waters song Rollin’ Stone) often performed Mannish Boy in concert, including it on their 1977 album Love You Live. A few years later, the Stones performed it with Muddy Waters himself for the concert video and live album Live at the Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago 1981.
Bad to the Bone – George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Thursday song of the day: Today’s song revisits the themes and guitar riffs of earlier blues songs.
Today we end the year by closing out the 4-day series of related blues songs.
Much of blues-rock guitarist George Thorogood’s repertoire consisted of straight-up covers of earlier songs. Probably his best-known song, however, is an original. Bad to the Bone was the title track to his 1982 album and was inspired by Bo Diddley’s I’m a Man and Muddy Waters’ rewrite of that song, Mannish Boy. All three songs used simple but catchy guitar riffs combined with lyrics that boasted of the singer’s greatness.
Thorogood and his band The Destroyers released Bad to the Bone in September 1982. It rose to #27 on the Mainstream Rock chart but didn’t place at all on the overall Billboard Hot 100. Despite the fact that it was not a big pop hit, the song is instantly recognizable to most people, and has remained popular for almost forty years now.
One of the reasons it became popular was the music video made for the song. MTV was still very young at the time, and in 1982 was dominated by videos by New Wave acts such as Duran Duran. Something blues-based like Bad to the Bone stuck out, and was in heavy rotation to break up the monotony. Also, it was a memorable video, with Thorogood engaged in a pool game with Bo Diddley – the legend who had written I’m a Man, one of the songs that inspired Thorogood to write Bad to the Bone.
Another was the song’s use in numerous movies and TV shows as a simple musical shorthand to use when a “bad” character is introduced. It is even used at sporting events for the same reason, for instance some hockey teams use it when a penalty is called on them, and some baseball teams play it when the home team slugger is coming up to bat.
Friday song of the day: The music for today’s song was inspired by spaghetti Westerns.
Gnarls Barkley was a duo consisting of singer Cee-Lo Green and producer Danger Mouse. They released their first album, St. Elsewhere, in 2006. One of the songs on the album, Crazy. Crazy was the first single from the album, but before the single or album was released, the song was leaked online in late 2005. BBC Radio ended up playing the leaked song and it became popular well before it was officially released.
Lyrically, the song was about going a bit crazy in the face of adversity. Cee-Lo explained what led him to explore insanity as a theme for a song, “It was ’04, I was going through a divorce, I did not have a deal – things were bleak at the time and I was going through a personal trial. But it was an opportunity to be expressive. Danger Mouse’s production compelled me into a deep retrospection, and I really appreciate him for that because with him, I knew that my misery had some company, because his music was so miserably brilliant and beautiful to me. It was the sound of my soul. If you could have taken a picture of it, it would have resembled this internal chaos.”
Danger Mouse wrote the music to accompany the lyrics, seeking to emulate the feel of the themes Ennio Morricone wrote for spaghetti Western soundtracks in the 1960s. He later said, “I brought in a song that I felt was a complete Ennio Morricone ripoff, but Cee-Lo and I started talking, and I somehow got off on this tangent about how people won’t take an artist seriously unless they’re insane. And we were saying that if we really wanted this album to work, the best move would be to just kill ourselves. That’s how audiences think; it’s retarded. So we started jokingly discussing ways in which we could make people think we were crazy. We talked about this for hours, and then I went home. But while I was away, Cee-Lo took that conversation and made it into Crazy, which we recorded in one take. That’s the whole story. The lyrics are his interpretation of that conversation.”
Once Crazy was officially released, it rose to #1 on the UK singles chart and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. It sold over 1.8 million copies in the UK, and went quadruple Platinum in the United States, with sales over 4 million. Beyond this, Crazy was a critical success, winning a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance and was selected by Rolling Stone magazine as best song of the year.
Saturday song of the day: Today’s song is about the frustration of an on-again/off-again relationship.
Aerosmith had been huge in the 1970s, but then the band had turmoil in the late 1970s and early 1980s from drug problems and personnel changes. They eventually fixed their problems and returned to the classic lineup, sparking a career resurgence in the late 1980s. By 1993 the band was again on top, and released the album Get a Grip. The album went platinum 7 times over in the United States, and worldwide sold over 20 million copies, making it the band’s biggest-selling studio album. (The classic 1975 album Toys in the Attic sold more copies in the United States than Get a Grip but did not perform quite as well in other countries.)
Over the next year, the record company released a total of seven singles from the album. The last of these was Crazy, a song written by band members Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, with outside help from songwriter Desmond Child. The single was released in May 1994 and topped out at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100. This made it the fourth Top 40 single from Get a Grip, joining the #18 Livin’ on the Edge, #12 Cryin’, and #18 Amazing.
Sales were helped along by a trio of music videos featuring actress Alicia Silverstone. Crazy was the third and final video that she made with Aerosmith, joining those for Cryin’ and Amazing. This last also featured Steven Tyler’s 17-year-old daughter Liv Tyler, joining Silverstone to play two wild runaway schoolgirls in the Crazy video. The videos were very popular and helped establish Silverstone as a star.
While the sales were massive, a lot of people thought that Aerosmith’s music from the period was bland and repetitious. I tend to agree that they were in a stylistic rut. Saturday Night Live even did a parody commercial for a fictional Greatest Hits 1990-1994 album in which Adam Sandler played Steven Tyler singing songs with the same music, all using the three words Cryin’, Amazing, and Crazy in different combinations, such as Crazy Amazing, Cryin’ Crazy, and Crazy Amazing Cryin-Amazacrazy. (I can’t find the clip on YouTube, but this 2017 Twitter post has the video. )
Sunday song of the day: Today’s song was inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel, better known as Seal, began his recording career in 1990. His first single was Crazy, a song he had written with Guy Sigsworth. Seal says that the impetus to write the song came from two events in 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the pro-democracy protests in China’s Tiananmen Square. For the most part, Seal wrote the lyrics and Guy Sigsworth provided the music.
Crazy was released in September 1990 as the first single from his debut album, Seal. The record performed very well, making it to #1 in several European countries. In the UK, it placed at #2 on the singles chart, and in the United States peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song has been covered over twenty times in the ensuing years, most notably by Alanis Morissette in 2005. She recorded her version of Crazy for a Gap commercial and included it as a bonus on her greatest hit album, as well as releasing it as a single in November 2005. The song performed better in Europe than in the United States, making the Top 10 in several countries. In the US it failed to place on the overall Billboard Hot 100, although it did chart at #6 on the more niche Dance Club Play and Dance Singles charts.
Monday song of the day: Today’s song was originally going to be titled Stupid.
Patsy Cline was an established country star in 1961, but on June 14th of that year had a serious car accident that sidelined her for a while as she recovered from the life-threatening injuries. Just over two months later, she recorded a song called Crazy that her husband had suggested to her.
The song was written by a young singer-songwriter named Willie Nelson. He had written a few hits for other performers, and had recently moved to Nashville, but had not yet had much success as a performer. He had written a love song he called Stupid, but when he tried it out in front of an audience, they did not respond very well. He retitled the song Crazy, and the new lyrics seemed to go over better.
There are a few different versions of how Crazy came to be recorded by Patsy Cline. The basics seem to be that Willie put a demo record of Crazy on the jukebox at a club where he often performed, and Patsy’s husband and road manager, Charlie Dick, heard the song and thought it would be a good fit for her. He brought Willie to their house (Both Charlie and Willie were drunk, and apparently Nelson stayed in the car until Cline came out to get him) to have Patsy listen to a demo.
Initially she didn’t care for the song, but her producer Owen Bradley thought it would be a hit and made a lush ballad arrangement for her. On her initial try to sing it in the studio, she could not hit some of the notes because of pain from a rib she had broken in the car accident. Bradley completed the musical tracks, including backing vocals by the Jordanaires, while waiting for her to be healthy enough to record her vocals. On August 17th, 1961, after two more weeks of recuperating, she tried again, this time completing the song in one take while standing with crutches.
Crazy was released as a single in October 1961 and was a big hit for Cline, reaching #2 on the Country chart and crossing over as a pop hit to peak at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has since been covered over 300 times, including Willie Nelson’s own version in 1962, on his first album, …and then I wrote.
On March 5th, 1963, the 30-year-old Cline was killed in an airplane accident along with the pilot and country music artists Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. Willie Nelson, of course, went on to a legendary career as a songwriter and performer.
Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio? – The Ramones
Tuesday song of the day: Today’s song is a tribute to the music of the 1950s and 1960s.
The Ramones were one of the earliest punk rock bands, but while they were one of the originators of a new trend in the mid-1970s, in many ways The Ramones were a throwback to the rock and roll of the 1950s and early 1960s. Their trademark fast simple songs harkened back to early rock and roll when music was fun and didn’t take itself overly seriously like the arena rock bands of the 1970s.
On their fifth studio album, 1980’s End of the Century, they included a song that specifically addressed their love of older rock and roll. That song was Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio? The song was the centerpiece of the album, being the first track on Side 1, and the album’s title came from lyrics in the song: “It’s the end, the end of the seventies/It’s the end, the end of the century.”
The song made numerous references to earlier times, including music-related television shows such as Hullaballoo, Upbeat, and Shindig; influential rock and roll disc jockeys Alan Freed and Murray the K; and musicians Jerry Lee Lewis and John Lennon. While Do You Remember Rock “N’ Roll Radio? was nostalgic for the music of the band’s childhood, it also lamented that the current music of the late 1970s/early 1980s seemed to have lost its soul and sense of fun, saying, “We need change, and we need it fast/Before rock’s just part of the past/’Cause lately it all sounds the same to me.”
The song was released as the second single from End of the Century in May 1980. It failed to chart in the United States at all, although it did place on the UK singles chart at #54. Likewise, the music video for the song did not receive much airplay on MTV, which began broadcasting the following year. While in the early days of the station there was high demand for videos, Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio? had low production values, so flashier videos received much more visibility on the channel.
I am also including a live performance of the song from the first day of the three-day US Festival in California in September 1982, mainly because I was in attendance at the show. I remember that the temperature was around 110 degrees that weekend, and yet most of The Ramones performed in their trademark black leather jackets despite the oppressive heat.
Wednesday song of the day: Today’s song was written by Sonny Bono.
Yesterday’s song told of the Ramones’ love for 1950s and 1960s rock and roll. In addition to writing that tribute to the era, the Ramones also covered numerous older songs during their career. Most of the band’s studio albums had one or two covers in addition to the Ramones originals. One of their last studio albums, 1993’s Acid Eaters, consisted entirely of cover versions of songs that had influenced the band. Earlier in their career they covered a song that had been a 1964 hit for the British band The Searchers.
That song was Needles and Pins, and while the version by The Searchers is the best-remembered recording, they did not originate it. The song was written by Sonny Bono (before he formed the act Sonny and Cher with his young wife) and Jack Nitzsche. Needles and Pins was a breakup song, telling of the singer being emotional seeing a former lover. It was first recorded in 1963 by Jackie DeShannon. It was written while working on one of her albums, and Bono says that he and Nitzsche wrote it while working up tunes in preparation for the recording sessions, while DeShannon claims that she had a hand in its writing as well. Regardless, in the end she did not receive a writing credit.
Her original version was released as a single in April 1963, but didn’t have a lot of success, topping out at only #84 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Later that year, members of The Searchers heard another singer, Cliff Bennett, performing the song at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany. They liked the song and decided to record a version. Their cover was released as a single in January 1964 and ended up being considerably more popular than the Jackie DeShannon original. Needles and Pins by The Searchers went to #1 on the UK Singles chart, and in the United States was a respectable #17 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Since that definitive hit version, Needles and Pins has been covered over 70 more times, including a recording by the songwriter Sonny Bono’s wife Cher in 1965, as well as versions by Tom Petty, The Raspberries, and The Ventures. The Ramones covered it on their fourth studio album, 1978’s Road to Ruin.