Play with Fire

Composer: "Nanker Phelge" (Rolling Stones)
Recording date: January 1965           Recording location: RCA Studios, Los Angeles, USA
Producer: Andrew Oldham           Engineer: Dave Hassinger
Performed onstage: 1965-66, 1989-90

Probable line-up:

Zoom bass: Phil Spector
Acoustic guitar: Keith Richards
Vocal: Mick Jagger
Harpsichord: Jack Nitzsche
Tambourine: Mick Jagger
Tamtams: Jack Nitzsche
 

Well you've got your diamonds
And you've got your pretty clothes
And the chauffeur drives your cars
You let everybody know

But don't play with me
Cause you're playing with fire

Your mother she's an heiress
Owns a block in Saint John's Wood
And your father'd be there with her
If he only could

But don't play with me
Cause you're playing with fire

Your old man took her diamonds
And tiaras by the score
Now she gets her kicks in Stepney
Not in Knightsbridge anymore

So don't you play with me
Cause you're playing with fire

Now you've got some diamonds
And you will have some others
But you'd better watch your step, girl
Or start living with your mother

So don't you play with me
Cause you're playing with fire
So don't you play with me
Cause you're playing with fire
 

 

TrackTalk

It was a classic example of the Stones' ability to absorb different types of sound even when the whole band was not playing on the track. Brian, Bill and Charlie didn't play on Play with Fire. They'd all dropped off to sleep. One could have got them up again but one didn't. So it was Phil Spector on tuned-down guitar and Jack Nitzsche on harpsichord in addition to Richards and Jagger. It was at the end of a session with some old guy sweeping up.

- Andrew Oldham


Play with Fire (was made) with Phil Spector on tuned-down electric guitar, me on acoustic, Jack Nitzsche on harpsichord, and Mick on tambourine with echo chamber. It was about 7 o'clock in the morning. Everybody fell asleep.

- Keith Richards, 1971


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 tambourine, the vocal line. You know, it's very pretty... Keith and me (wrote that). I mean, it just came out... (I)t was just kind of rich girls' families - society as you saw it. It's painted in this naive way in these songs... I don't know if it was daring. It just hadn't been done.

- Mick Jagger, 1995


Ah, the imagination of teenagers! Well, one always wants to have an affair with one's mother. I mean it's a turn-on.

- Mick Jagger, 1968, on the remark that the song
suggests the protagonist is having
an affair with the girl's mother


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