Play with Fire (The Rolling Stones song)
|"Play with Fire"|
|Single B-side to "The Last Time" by The Rolling Stones|
|Released||26 February 1965 (UK)
13 March 1965 (US)
|Label||Decca F12104 (UK)
London 45-LON 9741 (US)
|Producer||Andrew Loog Oldham|
"Play with Fire" is a song by English rock and roll band The Rolling Stones, originally released as B-side to the song "The Last Time". It was later included on the American release of their 1965 album Out of Our Heads.
"Play with Fire" is credited to Nanker Phelge, a pseudonym used when tracks were composed by the entire band, even though lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards are the only Rolling Stones to appear on the track. The song was recorded late one night in January 1965 while the Stones were in Los Angeles recording with Phil Spector at the RCA Studios. Richards performed the song's acoustic guitar opening while Jagger handled vocals and tambourine (enhanced using an echo chamber). Spector played bass (actually a tuned-down electric guitar), and Jack Nitzsche provided the song's distinctive harpsichord arrangement and tamtams. The Stones left for a tour of Australia the following day.
The song's lyrics talk of the singer's relationship with a high society girl, disparaging the lifestyle much in the same way that "19th Nervous Breakdown" would in a more up-tempo feel. The title refers to the idiom "If you play with fire, you get burned".
In a 1995 interview with Jann Wenner for Rolling Stone, titled "Jagger Remembers", Jagger said, ""Play with Fire" sounds amazing—when I heard it last. I mean, it's a very in-your-face kind of sound and very clearly done. You can hear all the vocal stuff on it. And I'm playing the tambourines, the vocal line. You know, it's very pretty." An unreleased version of the song, entitled "Mess with Fire", was also recorded. It featured a much more upbeat, soul-oriented feel.
The song was performed in concert during the Rolling Stones' tours of 1965 and 1966, and was revived on their 1989-1990 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour.
In July 2008, "Play with Fire" became the subject of a lawsuit when ABKCO Music Inc., which owns the rights to the Rolling Stones' early catalogue, filed a suit against Lil Wayne, asserting that the rapper's song "Playing With Fire" is based on the Rolling Stones' song.
In May 2011, "Play with Fire" was featured prominently in the season 6 finale of the show Supernatural.
"Play With Fire" has been cited as the first song the supergroup West, Bruce and Laing played together upon their formation in 1972. The band regularly played the song live – a rendition of it appears on West, Bruce and Laing's 1974 album Live 'n' Kickin' – and also included a thinly veiled rewrite of the song (with new lyrics) as "Love is Worth the Blues" on their first album Why Dontcha (1972).
American singer-songwriter Chris Pureka covered the song on her 2013 EP Chimera II.
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- "Jagger Remembers". Rolling Stone. 14 December 1995 (accessed 7 July 2010).
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- Honan, Edith (24 July 2008). "Lil Wayne Sued Over Stones Song". Reuters UK. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- Shapiro, Harry (2010). Jack Bruce: Composing Himself – The Authorised Biography, Jawbone, ISBN 978-1-906002-26-8, p. 153.
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