04 February 2013

Some History of "Time is on My Side"

Irma Thomas (2006)

This song is most often associated with the 1964 cover by The Rolling Stones, due primarily to the fact that the Stones made it an international hit. The song however, as many songs do, has an interesting history prior to the Stones cover. Time is on my Side started out as a jazz composition by Jerry Ragovoy (under the pseudonym Norman Meade), with only a few thoughts for lyrics.

Songwriter Jimmy Norman, fleshing out Ragovoy's lyrical ideas ("time is on my side" and "you'll come running back") completed additional lyrics just prior to the Soul Queen of New Orleans, vocalist Irma Thomas, recording the song before the Stones in 1964. So let's hear Irma performing the song on her home turf with a tremendous backing band including composer Allen Toussaint on paino, among other New Orleans legends.
Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler!

Irma Thomas (live), Time is on my Side


whiteray said...

Irma sang the hell out of it, but she didn't get there first. Kai Winding (the Danish trombonist who had a hit with "More (Theme from Mondo Cane") recorded "Time Is On My Side" in 1963 with the Enchanters, the same vocal group that backed Garnet Mims on his version of "Cry Baby," another great Ragovoy song (and one that Janis Joplin covered on "Pearl"). Another great version of "Time Is On My Side" came as the title tune of a 1976 album from Tracy Nelson, the one-time lead singer of Mother Earth. And to push this comment further into the brush, Nelson also did a great cover of Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry" on her self-titled album from 1974.

Paco Malo said...

Whiteray, thanks for fleshing this history. I added the "Some" to the title because I knew I was skipping a few things. And, my brother, I knew I could count on you to catch me in any errors and add some invaluable information, which you did, elegantly.
I'm glad you liked the "New Orleans legend" cover I selected to put up with the post.
Now, let me added a little more history of my own.
While "WWIII" was going on between The Glimmer Twins (Mick and Keith), Keith formed Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos while Jagger attempted an embarrassing, failed shot at a solo career.
The X-Pensive Winos, as a general rule, didn't cover Stones tunes, but, with vocalist Sarah Dash stepping up to the mic, the Winos did a great cover of "Time is on Your Side" on "Live at the Hollywood Palladium, December 15, 1988." But I went with class over flash.