Needle In The Hay

Album: Elliott Smith (1995)
Play Video


  • This song can be interpreted as a reflection on how Heroin impacted Smith's life. The song could also be about a drug addict who is in love with a girl who doesn't love him, so he falls back on his addiction to help him deal with the situation. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mark - Mission Hills, KS
  • This was used in the 2001 movie The Royal Tenenbaums. It plays in a scene where one of the main characters attempts suicide.

Comments: 8

  • Chonginstrong from The North.Anybody who has had a heroin addiction will tell you, this song is about being strung out on heroin and going to score, it feels like your never gonna get to the man " 4 more blocks and the one in my brain" he talks about getting the bus to go and score his s--t, and the track marks " you oughtta be proud that I'm getting good marks" it's a big f--k you I'm a smack head song! Beautiful, first song I ever learned to play.
  • Fatjopa from Cookeville, Tnand, Bad Astronaut made it famous...thank you Joey Cape.
  • Joe from Roseville, CaThe line, "I'm taking the cure" is an allusion to William S. Burroughs' heroin retrospective, "Junkie." In the book, "taking the cure" refers to a voluntary stay in a jail/rehab to get oneself off of heroin.
  • Frank Zappa from Baghdad, -2002 interview with Q magazine. Smith said "this song is about having sex with your mum"
  • Ryan from College Park, MdYet again, this song was written long before his problems with drug addiction.
  • Amanda from Titusville, PaThis is my favorite song. I love Elliott Smith and especially listen to him when I am depressed. For those of you that cant get enough of Elliott Smith check out the band he was in before his solo career it was "Heatmiser" the name of the album to check out is "Mic City Sons"
  • G from Paris, FranceWho is this Mark from Kansas, and why won't he spare us his insight?
  • Kristene from Nowhere, TxThis is an amazing song that he supposedly wrote while trying to recover from his drug addiction. Note the title, 'Needle in the Hay', which is probably in reference to, what else, the lost cause of trying to find a needle, or hope, perhaps, in this case, in a haystack, or in life, sobriety. I don't know, that was just my guessing. Anyway, this is a great song, and he was the most amazing artist to ever walk the planet.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")Songwriter Interviews

Inspired by his dear friend, "Seasons in the Sun" paid for Terry's boat, which led him away from music and into a battle with Canadian paper mills.

Spooner Oldham

Spooner OldhamSongwriter Interviews

His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in Rock

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in RockSong Writing

We ring the Hell's Bells to see what songs and rockers are sincere in their Satanism, and how much of it is an act.

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New York

Barney Hoskyns Explores The Forgotten History Of Woodstock, New YorkSong Writing

Our chat with Barney Hoskyns, who covers the wild years of Woodstock - the town, not the festival - in his book Small Town Talk.

Vince Clarke

Vince ClarkeSongwriter Interviews

An original member of Depeche Mode, Vince went on to form Erasure and Yaz.

Carol Kaye

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.