Play It Safe

Album: Soldier (1980)
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  • David Bowie and Iggy Pop were working on a song at Rockfield Studios in Wales that 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 a Songfacts 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."


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