Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Time Is On My Side

First recorded by Kai Winding (1963).
Hit versions by Irma Thomas (B-side US #52 1964), The Rolling Stones (US #6/AUS #4 1964 |UK #64 1982).

From the wiki: “Session arranger Garry Sherman contacted songwriter friend and colleague Jerry Ragovoy (‘Piece of My Heart‘) after big band trombonist, bandleader, and former Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton and Miles Davis sideman Kai Winding had expressed an interest in going in a more commercial, contemporary and rhythmic direction at the onset of the British Invasion. Coming up with a melody was easy, but Ragovoy could think of no lyrics for the song other than ‘time is on my side’ and ‘you’ll be comin’ back to me’. Produced by Creed Taylor and engineered by Phil Ramone, ‘Time Is On My Side’ was also recorded using background vocals by Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, ‘Time Is On My Side’ was released on the Verve Records label in October 1963. It did not chart.

“In early 1964 Irma Thomas recorded a gospel-influenced cover of the song as the B-side for her single ‘Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)’ – co-written by Randy Newman – released on Imperial Records. Songwriter Jimmy Norman was enlisted by Thomas’ arranger H. B. Barnum to create some more lyrics for the song. He managed to finish moments before Thomas entered the studio to record them. The single’s A-side peaked at #52 on the Billboard Hot 100 but, surprisingly, did not chart on the R&B survey.

“It was the Thomas cover that inspired the Rolling Stones to record two versions of ‘Time Is On My Side’ in 1964. The first version (a looser arrangement featuring a briefer, organ-only intro), recorded in London in June 1964, was released in the U.S. in 1964, as a single from their album 12 X 5. The second version (more tightly arranged and featuring guitar in the intro), recorded in Chicago on November 8, 1964, was released in the UK on January 15, 1965 on The Rolling Stones No. 2. This is the version that receives airplay and appears on most ‘best of’ compilations.”

Irma Thomas, “Time Is On My Side” (1964):

Rolling Stones, “Time Is On My Side” from 12 x 5 (1964):

Rolling Stones, “Time Is On My Side” from Rolling Stones No. 2 (1964):