Friday, August 1, 2014

Rolling Stones Friday: Play With Fire

Phil Spector (2nd from L) with the Rolling Stones

Late one night at the RCA Studios in Los Angeles in early 1965, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards did a very quick recording of the song "Play With Fire". Phil Spector produced and played bass, and Jack Nitzsche played harpsichord. The collective members of the Rolling Stones are credited as songwriters, though curiously none of them but Mick and Keith were present for the recording.

I've always greatly admired the very direct sound of the song, in particular the vocal, which Mick once aptly described as "in-your-face". There's a great deal of power in the simplicity of the song and its production. Nitzsche's harpsichord as the sole embellishment to the song works perfectly.

The Stones have not played "Play With Fire" live a great deal, but it does pop up from time to time. Here's a terrific version, with full band, recorded in Montreal in 1989:

There's a few cool covers out there, including one by WYMA favorites Dum Dum Girls, but the best cover I located was by Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star), certainly a singer with the chops to do the song justice. This was recored live in Paris in 2002: 

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