Time Is On My Side

Album: 12 x 5 (1964)
Charted: 62 6
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  • This song was originally recorded by the jazz trombonist Kai Winding and his Orchestra on the Verve Records label in October 1963. His version was mostly instrumental with just the lyric "time is on my side" sung by the background trio of Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick.

    The first fully vocal version was recorded by the New Orleans soul singer Irma Thomas; her version was released as the B-side of "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)" in June 1964. The Rolling Stones released their version of the song in the US on September 26, 1964, and it became their first Top 10 hit in America. Thomas' version contains a spoken part in the middle that the Stones left out.
  • The lyrics were most likely written by Jimmy Norman, who was a member of The Coasters. The songwriting credit is unclear, and usually lists Jerry Ragovoy, who wrote "Piece Of My Heart" and "Try" for Janis Joplin, as the only writer, sometimes as "Norman Meade," which he used as a pseudonym. Thomas' original single lists the credit as "J. Norman - N. Meade." Ragovoy, who also produced the song for Thomas, died in 2011 at age 80. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dave - Greenville, SC
  • In this song, Mick Jagger has lost his girl, but he knows it's just a matter of time until he returns. After all, he's got "the real love, the kind that you need."
  • Keith Richards said of this song: "In America we were basically known for heavy, slowish kind of ballads. 'Time Is On My Side,' 'Tell Me,' 'Heart of Stone,' that was what we were known for. Strangely enough that was our thing. Every single was a slow song. Who would believe it? You'd think they'd be clamoring for out-and-out rock and roll, but no, it was the soul ballads that happened for us in America." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • This was one of two songs The Stones performed on their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance, October 25, 1964. The other was "Around And Around," a Chuck Berry cover.

    That February, The Beatles made their historic debut on Sullivan to crowd hysteria. The Stones hadn't yet developed a fan base in America, but the teenage girls in the audience still went crazy. The appearance earned them lots of attention and helped send "Time Is On My Side" up the chart - it reached #6 on December 5.

    The Stones returned to the show five more times, always earning a wildly enthusiastic greeting from the crowd. On their fifth appearance, they capitulated to Sullivan by changing "Let's Spend The Night Together" to "Let's Spend Some Time Together."
  • The Rolling Stones released two versions of this song. The US single was recorded in England and is slower, with a gospel organ. The British version was recorded at Chess studios in Chicago.
  • This song played a key role in the 1998 suspense thriller Fallen with Denzel Washington and John Goodman. It was also used in the films The Sense Of An Ending (2017), Get On Up (2014), and Not Fade Away (2012). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    John - Woburn, MA
  • Irma Thomas was touring in England when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards caught one of her shows and heard her sing the tune. They told her they loved it and planned to record it with their band. By early December, the Stones' cover was a Top 10 hit in the US. Thomas grew so tired of explaining to people that she recorded the song first, she quit singing it altogether for nearly 30 years. She only relented when her friend Bonnie Raitt invited Thomas to sing it with her for a 1992 New Year's Eve broadcast from New Orleans.
  • Thomas told the Dutch music series Top 2000 a go go what she thought of Jagger's take on her tune. "Vocally you have to be able to carry a note for more than a couple seconds," she said. "Melodically, he's there. But they did the way they did and I did it the way I did it and, you know, there's an interpretation of singing. I tell people, 'Mick can't sing but he's laughing all the way to the bank.'"
  • This was used in the 2019 miniseries Watchmen in the episode "If You Don't Like My Story, Write Your Own."

    It was also used in these TV shows:

    Lucifer ("Weaponizer" - 2016)
    12 Monkeys ("Year Of The Monkey" - 2016)
    Elementary ("On The Line" - 2013)
    Six Feet Under ("Perfect Circles" - 2003)
    The Sopranos ("Guy Walks Into A Psychiatrist's Office" - 2000)

Comments: 16

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 21st 1965, the Rolling Stones and Roy Orbison arrived at the Sydney Airport*, it was the beginning of a 16-date tour of Australian and New Zealand...
    At the time the Stones had two records on the Kent Music Report chart; at #4 was "The Little Red Rooster, while at #16 was "Time Is On My Side" (the week before "The Little Red Rooster" had peaked at #2 for one week}...
    Just over six weeks later on March 6th Roy Orbison's "Goodnight" reached #6 {for 3 non-consecutive weeks} on the Australian chart...
    * An estimated 3,000 screaming fans greeted the Stones & the Big 'O' at the airport.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 11th 1964, "Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #80; and on November 29th, 1964 it peaked at #6 {for 3 weeks} and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #4 in Australia and #10 in the Netherlands...
    It was their fourth Top 100 record and the first make the Top 10.
  • Jojo from Baton Rouge, LaKai Winding and Irma Thomas versions send chills down your spine, where has that music gone? Youtube them.
  • Lucas from Heerlen, NetherlandsMy dog said he wrote this song with his band :')
  • Matt from Elgin, United KingdomHas anybody heard of the band from Chester called The Jade 5? A backing group around in the 60's apparently.
  • Matt from Elgin, United KingdomMy dad said he wrote this song with his band The Jade 5.
  • George from Redlands, CaIrma Thomas had a great version of this song. Supposedly, she stopped doing this song because she was unhappy that the Rolling Stones even used the same arrangement.
  • Marcus from Columbus, OhThere are two verisons of the song. The first one was the organ verison that reminds me of a vacant Victorian Manison on 510 E.N. Broadway that was vacant from 1961 till it was torn down in 1966. I recalled the organ verison playing on my local rock & roll station & later the gituar verison would be played and take over the organ verison. I was 9 when the organ verison of "Time Is On My Side" By The Rolling Stones. The opening with the organ playing reminds me of a dream I had where I went to school at night and came home early & when I rode home in the bus, in the early morning the street lights turned off and the song would be played and met some old friends that lived during the 1964-65 School year & got bit by a small gator & woke up sick & stayed home from school but not from The 1964 Edition of Trick & Treat. There is one radio station that plays oldies and plays the gituar verison of "Time Is On My Side" until October and the early part of November & plays the organ spooky verison of the Stones' cover song. I got both verisons in my CD collection. My personal favorite verison of The song "Time Is On My Side" is the organ verison by The Rolling Stones.
    Marcus Brainard, Columbus, Ohio
  • Walter from Antwerp, BelgiumThe vocal group on the 1963 Kai Winding original might well be The Gospelaires (Dionne Warwick, DeeDee Warwick and Cissy Houston). For the Irma Thomas cover the next year, some lyrics were added. It would make sense that Jimmy Norman wrote these, but why then does he credit only Jerry Ragovoy (aka Norman Meade) and not himself on his 2004 CD 'Little Pieces' ?
  • Mike from Berkeley, CaThis recording of the song is pretty good, but Irma Thomas's original (not the one available now) was 10 times better.
  • Z from Montreal, CanadaI prefer the Irma Thomas version (from 1964) much better than the Rolling Stones version. The Irma Thomas version has a strong gospel style.
  • Matt from Newport, Walesin the denzel washington film Fallen the antichrist mentioned by jed from somersets true name is Azazel
  • Dave from Greenville, ScJimmy Norman wrote the lyrics to this song and just happend to play a very sweet version of it not to long ago on N.P.R.
  • Simon from Brno, Czech RepublicIan Stewart (1938-1985) played in this song the organ.
  • Jed from Somerset. Uk, EnglandThe song was used as a very important part of the Denzil Washington film "Fallen". It was the song the condemned man sang to the detective as he shook his hand before he went to the electric chair and was to recur throughout the film as the Anti-Christ was passed on.
  • Fred from Summit, NeIt was actually Kai Winding who recorded the song first, prior to Irma Thomas, in 1963 on Verve Records. The label notes a Vocal Group (un-named). Very much soul oriented.
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