After the relative failure of SUGAR & SPICE (compared to SWEETS...) the Searchers were  looking for something new. Chris came up with NEEDLES & PINS, written by Sonny Bono (Of Sonny& Cher) and Jack Nitsche, later working for the Rolling Stones.  This time Mike Pender took over the lead vocal, assisted by Chris. The sound was really different compared to the previous singles. (As Chris said in his first interview after more than 30 years, the first few seconds of a song decide if it's going to be a hit or not, was really right for NEEDLES... What sounds like a twelve string guitar is a double tracked 6 string). The song came out on Pye 7N 15594 in January 1964 and reached no. one in only three weeks. It stayed at the top for three weeks and sold a million copies. Total chart run in the UK was 15 weeks.

above: Front Page of New Musical Express, January 12th, 1964.

above: UK promo and three different pressing of the successful single.

left: from New Musical Express

above: from Record Mirror

above: acetat

above: nice photo of Tony and Chris left: from Record Mirror

With Mike Pender singing lead things really changed for Tony. But why didnít he sing lead on the song? According to Chris Tony sang the song without any emotions and with no enthusiasm so that Mike's voice fittet better. Hereís what John McNally said about it in an interview: ďHe sang all the Eddie Cochran and early stuff, and he was a Lonnie Donegan fan. He only sang on the first two hits, "Sweets For My Sweet" and "Sugar And Spice". He played Bass on "Needles And Pins" but when the backing track was done and it came to  the vocals, for some unknown  reason  his  voice  wasn't considered good enough, which I thought was ridiculous because his voice was always great. Anyway, Mike ended up singing it but Iíve always thought The Searchers' sound is more Tony's voice than Mike's.Ē

(Extract from Searchers Newletter, Issue 30)

The B-Side was Saturday Night Out, sung by Tony with Mike, singing harmony. This song is the farewell to their "older" sound, dominated by Tony's voice and performed in a rougher style than the A-side (and the music they released later). It was written by Richards and Anthony. Anthony in fact was their producer, using again another name. And like in the case of Sugar & Spice the Searchers were not aware of it.

Saturday Night Out was featured in the movie of the same name plus Saints And Searchers.
 

above left: UK poster


above right: Belgium


far left: Jugoslavia


left: USA

 

The American Story of Needles and Pins by Donald Brandon:

The first sleeve was issued to radio stations only. It has black print on a dull white finish. It has no cat # or company logo and has printing on one side only. Issued  with "Radio Station Copy" white label promo record K-577.

 

Next is the first commercial sleeve (see right). Wording has been changed very little and has red print with a bright white finish. Red text, cat #K-577 and company logo on both sides of the sleeve. Record issued with the companies stock black label. Both the radio station copy and the red text sleeve had the song "Ain't That Just Like Me" as the B-side. After the band had appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show where they had performed Needles & Pins  along with Ain't That Just Like Me, the B-side had started to receive some radio airplay. Their American label Kapp started to see $$$ signs and reissued "Needles & Pins" with "Sat. Night Out" as the flip side in a blue picture sleeve. This sleeve also had the cat#  577,company logo and the same picture on both sides. The vinyl had the stock black label. Highest chart postion #13.

    

Above: three different pressings of single plus sheet music,

 

 

 

 

on the right: the Amrican picture cover

 

 

below: from the Ed Sullivan perfomance

Later in Nov. of 1964 after sales of both these singles (577 & 584) had declined Kapp released the orange label Winners Circle Series KJB-22 single, milking these tunes for every penny that they could get.

Chart pos. Weeks in charts Country Label & number Picture Cover
1 15 UK Pye 7N 15594 no
1 6 New Zealand Pye 7N 15594 no
1   Ireland Pye 7N 15594 no
1   South Africa Parlophone SPD 297 no
2   Australia Astor AP-1040 no
5 9 Sweden Pye 7N 15554 yes
8 20 Germany Vogue DV 14119 three slighty different
13 6 USA Kapp K-577 yes
14 9 Canada Pye 723 no
29 2 France Vogue 45PV-15184 no
    Netherlands Pye 7N 15594 three different
    Denmark Pye 7N 15594 yes
    Italy 45NP-5043 yes
    Norway Pye 7N 15554 yes
    Japan Pye LL 587-Y yes
    Japan Pye LL 743-Y yes
    Israel Top Hits TH-4555 yes

Germany

above: German cover version one with "Originalaufnahme"
 
right: without "Originalaufnahme" + label B-side
 
below: Saturday... printed in red letters
 
above: Italian Cover - front and back  45NP-5043
above: three different covers from the Netherlands, below left and middle: NL labels, right: Danish cover
far left: 1964 release from Japan         left: reissue from 1965
above: Australien single plus Sheet Music
above: Cover from Norway  above: Label and factory sleeve from New Zealand

left and above: NZ record

above: Argentina

above: Record and Label from Israel

below: test pressing from France, titled I Saw Her To-Day. Matrix N 45 PV 99981 A1. B side has an "endless groove". Label with a two piece sticker: Searchers and 4-2-1964.    Right: Regular release

The EP Section:

In several countries Needles And Pins was the title (or most popluar) track of an EP release.

above: The French EP, PNV. 2418

above: EP from Sweden Pye NEP 5027; tracks: Needles..., Saturday..., Some Other Guy, Unhappy Girls

left: Spanish EP Pye PY EP 2053; tracks: Needles..., Saturday..., Sugar & Spice, Saints & Searchers

 

LP Section:

 

 
Meet the Searchers / Needles & Pins (Kapp KL-1363 - mono- and KS-3363 - stereo - came out in the USA in March 1964 with Needles And Pins as the leading track and also including Saturday Night Out.   It went to no. 10 and stayed 16 weeks in the charts.
The one and only album released in SA by the Searchers in the sixties includes both sides of the single. (Pye PL 2001)
Needles And Pins was also included in their 1964 LP It's The Searchers, but due to be very short without Needles... and Don't Throw Your Love Away it appears to be added more than being the main track on that LP.

 

If you ever wondered how Needles... would have sounded with Tony singing lead and Mike doing harmony vocal - mixed a bit lower just like it was done with Saturday Night Out, there are two opportunities to find out:

far left: TVT Records 9428-2, track 7, recorded April 5th, 1964

left and above: Swedish Radio Sessions, track 10

both versions are sung by Tony and Mike and Tony's voice dominates the song.