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Play with Fire (The Rolling Stones song)

"Play with Fire"
File:RollStones-Single1965 TheLastTime.jpg
Single cover
Single B-side to "The Last Time" by The Rolling Stones
Released 26 February 1965 (UK)
13 March 1965 (US)
Recorded January–February 1965
Genre Baroque pop
Length 2:14
Label Decca F12104 (UK)
London 45-LON 9741 (US)
Writer Nanker Phelge
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.[1]

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 will 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."[2] An unreleased version of the song, entitled "Mess with Fire", was also recorded. It featured a much more upbeat, soul-oriented feel.[3]

"Play with Fire" went to No. 96 on the US chart. It was also featured on the US version of Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) (1966), Hot Rocks (1971) and Singles Collection: The London Years (1989).

The song was performed in concert during the Rolling Stones' tours of 1965 and 1966, and was revived on their 1989-90 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour.

An extended live version can be found on the 1974 release Live 'n' Kickin' by West, Bruce and Laing.

"Play with Fire" was featured in the 2007 film The Darjeeling Limited, directed by Wes Anderson; it also appears on the soundtrack album.

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.[4]

In May 2011, "Play with Fire" was featured prominently in the season 6 finale of the show Supernatural.

The song is playable in the music video game Rocksmith.


  1. ^ "Play With Fire". Time Is On Our Side. 2007 (accessed 8 May 2007).
  2. ^ "Jagger Remembers". Rolling Stone. 14 December 1995 (accessed 7 July 2010).
  3. ^ [[[:Template:Allmusic]] Unterberger, Richie "Play With Fire"]. allmusic. 2007 (accessed 8 May 2007).
  4. ^ Honan, Edith (24 July 2008). "Lil Wayne Sued Over Stones Song". Reuters UK. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 

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