Needle in the Hay

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"Needle in the Hay"
Single by Elliott Smith
from the album Elliott Smith
Released January 1, 1995
Recorded September 1994
Genre Lo-fi
Length 4:16
Label Kill Rock Stars
Writer(s) Elliott Smith
Producer(s) Elliott Smith

"Needle in the Hay" is a single by American singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, released on January 1, 1995 by record label Kill Rock Stars as the sole single from his second studio album, Elliott Smith.


Trumpet and harmonica were recorded for the song but were omitted from the final mix. A mix featuring the extra instrumentation was released in March 2012.[1]


"Needle in the Hay" was released as a 7" vinyl single on January 1, 1995 by record label Kill Rock Stars.[2] It is the lead track on the album Elliott Smith, released in May that year.

Live performances[edit]

During later shows with a full band, the song was given more of a "rock" arrangement and would feature drums and bass,[3] with Smith also singing the vocals an octave higher.


Pitchfork Media placed the song at number 27 in their list of the two-hundred best songs of the 1990s.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

"Needle in the Hay" appeared in Wes Anderson's 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums, in a scene featuring a suicide attempt. It was also featured on the film's soundtrack.[5]

The song was covered by punk band Bad Astronaut for their 2001 album Acrophobe, Nadja in their covers album When I See the Sun Always Shines on T.V. and by Muppet parody Sad Kermit. This song was also covered by Mélissa Laveaux, and most recently Juliana Hatfield in 2014's I Saved Latin! A Tribute to Wes Anderson.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Needle in the Hay" – 4:17
  2. "Alphabet Town" – 4:12
  3. "Some Song (Extended Intro)" – 2:21


  1. ^ Pelly, Jenn (March 1, 2012). "Unreleased Elliott Smith, Deerhunter on Kickstarter Comp for Open Source Project CASH Music | News | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Needle in the Hay 7" | Kill Rock Stars". Bandcamp. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Elliott Smith "Needle in the Hay" Electric 9-2-00 – YouTube". YouTube. February 11, 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ Petruisch, Amanda (September 2, 2010). "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 50–21 | Features | Pitchfork". Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ Browning, Mark. (2011). Wes Anderson: Why His Movies Matter. Praeger. p. 152. ISBN 1598843524. 

External links[edit]