Play It Safe

  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • David Bowie and Iggy were working on a song at Rockfield, which needed a football terrace chorus. Bowie asked the then little-known Simple Minds, who were working in an adjoining studio, if they'd care to help out. Bowie handed out some beer and arranged the Scottish rockers around a microphone. Their big line was the refrain, "I wanna be a criminal, play it safe" - though not before Iggy had paid tribute to his new pals in the preceding verse: "You're too simple minded…"

    "It was fairly easy to song," recalled their lead singer Jim Kerr to Mojo April 2012. "In his diplomatic way, Bowie said, 'Why don't the people who sing professionally step nearer the microphone, and those who don't step well back? That's how I came to find myself sandwiched between David Bowie and Iggy Pop, singing that song. Astonishing."
  • So, what kind of hell and unrest went down with Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Simple Minds when they recorded this song? Not as much as you might think. In our interview with Jim Kerr, he said: "In the Welsh countryside there's not a lot of stuff you can get up to. But there was plenty of cans of beer. And at the end of the night, everyone had the munchies. I remember David Bowie eating a lot of cheese and thinking, I didn't think David Bowie would be a cheese-eating guy. I don't know why I thought that. But he was enjoying himself."
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

Lip-Synch RebelsSong Writing

What happens when Kurt Cobain, Iron Maiden and Johnny Lydon are told to lip-synch? Some hilarious "performances."

Boy BandsFact or Fiction

From NKOTB to 1D, how well do you know your boy bands?

Jon Anderson of YesSongwriter Interviews

From the lake in "Roundabout" to Sister Bluebird in "Starship Trooper," Jon Anderson talks about how nature and spirituality play into his lyrics for Yes.

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.