"Silver Threads and Golden Needles", a song written by Jack Rhodes and Dick Reynolds, was first recorded by Wanda Jackson in 1956. The original lyrics, as performed by Jackson, contain a verse not usually included in later versions, which also often differed in other minor details.
The Grateful Dead performed the song several times between 1966 and 1970 featuring Bob Weir on the lead vocal and Phil Lesh singing harmony.
Linda Ronstadt recorded and released two versions of the song. The first, on her 1969 solo debut album Hand Sown ... Home Grown, the second, a country-pop crossover version for her 1973 Don't Cry Now album. The second version was released as a single and was a top 20 country hit in 1973.
English folk rock singer Sandy Denny recorded the song on her 1977 album Rendezvous and with her band Fotheringay. This version was recorded in 1970 but not completed and released until 2008. Denny significantly reworked the song into three time.