It’s December the 14th, are you getting excited about Yuletide yet? Have you been good? Does Santa know what you want for Christmas? I hope the answer is yes to all those questions. It does mean that we have arrived at day 14 on my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar. Would you like to know what is behind the flimsy cardboard shield today? I’m sure you do; well it is the letter N and the song in question is “Needle In A Haystack” by the Velvelettes.
The song was written by William Stevenson and Norman Whitfield. The song was produced by Whitfield and was the groups first big hit in 1964 when it reached number 45 in the US Chart. It was released on the VIP label which was part of the Motown family. The group consisted of Bertha Barbee McNeal and her cousin Norma Barbee, Mildred Gill Arbor and her sister Carolyn (aka Cal) and Cal’s friend Betty Kelly when they formed in 1961. Cal became the lead singer.
The follow-up single was “He Was Really Saying Something” later covered by the less talented (in my opinion at least) Bananarama in the 80s. Betty Kelly left the group later in 1964 to join Martha and the Vandellas. The Velvelettes biggest UK hit was “These Things Will Keep Me Loving You” which reached number 34 in 1971, two years after the group had disbanded.