1965 Songs: “Play With Fire”

“Play With Fire:” is a under-rated and forgotten gem in the Rolling Stones’ vast catalogue.  Its sparse production, simple acoustic arrangement, and Mick Jagger’s haunting vocals easily distinguish it from the rest of the songs that the Stones were putting out in the early 60’s.  But the lyrics are of course, all Jagger who warns his target: “don’t play with me, cuz you’ll play with fire.”  It doesn’t matter anymore if Jagger could go his satisfaction, he’s going off the rails against girls with diamonds and bows who get chauffeured around.  One has to wonder if Jagger is calling out girls who tried to think they were cool by being part of the underground movement, but were really just stuck.

Although the song is credited to Nanker Phelge, the bands’ pseudonym for when all members of the band received writing credits instead of Jagger/Richards, they are in fact the only two songs that appear on the track.  Phil Spector handled bass, and Jack Nietzsche played the signature harpsichord part.

“Play with Fire” was used in the 2007 movie “The Darjeeling Limited”, which I how I first it.  (Terrible I know, considering that the Stones are among my favorite groups.)  Lil Wayne was also sued by the Rolling Stones for using portions of the song without permission.  What’s interesting about the lawsuit was the Stone’s Abkco’s reaction:

Abkco also said that Lil Wayne’s version uses “explicit, sexist and offensive language” and could lead the public to believe the company and the Rolling Stones approved of and authorized the new version.

“Play With Fire”

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