Pin Ups entered the UK chart on 3 November 1973 (coincidentally the same day as Bryan Ferry's covers album These Foolish Things) and stayed there for 21 weeks, peaking at No. 1. It re-entered the chart on 30 April 1983, this time for fifteen weeks, peaking at No. 57. In July 1990, it again entered the chart, for one week, at No. 52.
According to co-producer Ken Scott, the LP was originally conceived as "a complete opposite of [Bowie's] other albums", consisting of all cover songs except one original composition, and mainly turned towards the US market since "he wanted to do songs that weren't known as well in the States as they were in England", yet eventually the plan was dropped.Pin Ups was the first of two "1960s nostalgia" albums that Bowie had planned to release. The second, which was planned to be called "Bowie-ing Out," would have contained Bowie covering his favourite American artists, but was never recorded. Bowie also apparently considered making a Pin Ups sequel: he had compiled a list of songs he wanted to cover, some of which showed up on his later releases of Heathen (2002) and Reality (2003).
In the album booklet, Bowie, writing in his own hand, describes Pin Ups as:
The woman on the cover with Bowie is 1960s supermodel Twiggy in a photograph taken by her then-manager Justin de Villeneuve. It was taken in Paris for Vogue magazine, but at Bowie's request, used for the album instead.