I'm preparing something more in-depth on the cycles of power pop music (including so-called jangle pop). For now, suffice it to say that it emerges during the restless warm-up phase of the 15-year excitement cycle, as people come out of their vulnerable-phase shells and are eager to start mingling with the opposite sex again. Power pop is the sensitive-guy form that this trend takes.
In the meantime, a striking finding as I was going through the history. "Needles and Pins" is a staple of the genre, and most pop music fans will only be familiar with the version by the Searchers. But it was originally recorded a year before by a female singer. Later, two separate cover versions were released, also within a year of each other.
These all came out during a restless warm-up phase of the cycle -- early '60s and late '70s. (Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks played it live in '85, a vulnerable phase, but I'm talking about recording it in the studio for an album or single.)
The Ramones version highlights the multifaceted nature of the zeitgeist, in any phase. They're mostly a punk band, and the explosion of stripped-down 'tude indeed takes place during restless phases -- surf rock of the early '60s, punk of the late '70s, pop-punk (and some grunge) of the early '90s, and pop-punk and emo of the late 2000s.
And yet here they are during the heyday of punk, covering an earnest pining-and-yearning sensitive-guy anthem. Well sure, why not? -- they're two different ways of expressing the same underlying theme of restlessness, the urge to return to socializing and having fun after five years in the vulnerable-phase cocoon.
It would be nice to hear this one again during the just-beginning restless warm-up phase, but remember that music doesn't do cover songs anymore, despite TV and movies being entirely remakes, reboots, etc. Maybe there will be another early '60s prestige TV show like Mad Men (from the late 2000s -- matching phases), and they can work the song into the soundtrack somewhere.
The Searchers (1964):
Jackie DeShannon (1963):
The Ramones (1978):