Needle in the Hay
|"Needle in the Hay"|
|Single by Elliott Smith|
|from the album Elliott Smith|
|Released||January 1, 1995|
|Label||Kill Rock Stars|
|Elliott Smith singles chronology|
"Needle in the Hay" is a song by American singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. It was 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.
During later shows with a full band, the song was given more of a "rock" arrangement and would feature drums and bass, with Smith also singing the vocals an octave higher.
"Needle in the Hay" appeared in Wes Anderson's 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums, in a scene featuring a suicide attempt. Smith was reportedly unhappy about the song being used this way. The song appeared on the film's soundtrack.
The song was covered by numerous artists, including punk band Bad Astronaut for their 2001 album Acrophobe; Nadja on their covers album When I See the Sun Always Shines on T.V.; Muppet parody Sad Kermit; Mélissa Laveaux; and Juliana Hatfield in 2014's I Saved Latin! A Tribute to Wes Anderson.
In July 2018, singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton digitally released her own recording of "Needle in the Hay"; Carlton selected the track among a variety of songs that were unveiled as part of her 'Six Covers / Six Months' showcase. In reference to Smith's work, Carlton issued the following: "This is one of my favorite songs period. Elliott was a great poet and the metaphors in this lyric split me open. This song is a juxtaposition because the song is about excruciating pain and the brutal moments of an addiction spiral and yet it's formed in this drone-y meditative manner. Such restraint makes the listener have to move in closer. And then it breaks you. I hope I did him justice. He deserves the best."
- "Needle in the Hay" – 4:17
- "Alphabet Town" – 4:12
- "Some Song (Extended Intro)" – 2:21
- 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.
- "Needle in the Hay 7" | Kill Rock Stars". Bandcamp. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "Elliott Smith "Needle in the Hay" Electric 9-2-00 – YouTube". YouTube. February 11, 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- Petruisch, Amanda (September 2, 2010). "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 50–21 | Features | Pitchfork". Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- Schultz, William Todd (October 1, 2013). Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1608199730.
- Browning, Mark (2011). Wes Anderson: Why His Movies Matter. Praeger. p. 152. ISBN 1598843524.