“The rollyng stone neuer gatherth mosse,” wrote John Heywood in his collection of “all the prouerbes in the englishe tongue”, published in London in 1546. A modern dictionary explains the meaning of this durable saying: “a person who does not settle in one place will not accumulate wealth, status, friends, etc … with allusion to the proverb, moss is occasionally used to denote money.”
I don’t know what John Heywood would have made of the Rolling Stones, 500 years on, but the band’s story rather gives the lie to its name. They accumulated a great deal of wealth, status, friends, etc, not to mention a legion of fans who have made Mick’n’Keef the joint subjects of an annoying personality cult. It’s a bit off-putting, the whole hero-worship thang.
But Planet Vinyl is an open society, the fellowship of the fair listen. When seven inches of Stones came my way, I cleaned off the moss and gave it a spin. I already knew the A side, “The Last Time,” which was released in 1965, and was a number one hit in the UK. Good, bluesy rock.
But the B side was a surprise. “Play With Fire” belongs to that sub-genre of songs in which a working-class lad scoffs at a society girl for her privilege and lack of life experience. You ain’t lived in the real world, honey. The lyrics are a tad trite, but the mostly acoustic arrangement (the work of Phil Spector, who also plays bass) is lovely, and there is subtlety to the delivery.
- Artist: Rolling Stones
- Single Title: The Last Time
- Side B “Play With Fire”
- Format: 7”, 45 rpm
- Label: Decca
- Catalogue: Y 7217
- Manufactured in: Australia
- Year: 1965
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