Friday, January 10, 2014

Rolling Stones Friday: "Time Is On My Side"

The Rolling Stones appreciation for and mastery of American R&B is one of the foundational elements of their greatness. Their first top 10 hit was "Time Is On My Side" released in 1964. The song was written by Jerry Ragovoy and originally recorded in 1963 by New Orleans trombonist Kai Winding and His Orchestra, though the lyrics at that point consisted only of two lines.  Ragovoy also wrote Janis Joplin / Big Brother and The Holding Company's "Piece of My Heart" and "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)".  

The Stones picked up the obscure song from Irma Thomas who released it as as a single, complete with full lyrics, just a few weeks before the Stones recorded it. Here are the Rolling Stones on the Ed Sullivan Show in their US television debut in 1964:  

Here's the great Irma Thomas, one of my favorite soul singers, doing her 1964 version:

"Time is on My Side" was a terrific vehicle for Mick Jagger's vocals and the Stones dual guitars sound.  It became a staple in their repertoire. Numerous live versions of it exist, including this very well filmed one from Leeds England in 1982:

But while the guitar playing on the 1982 version is terrific, I prefer the 1964 Ed Sullivan vocal where Mick is channeling his inner Irma Thomas more than his later Mick Jagger superstar persona.

No comments: