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.
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."
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)
- More songs from The Rolling Stones
- More songs that were adapted from R&B songs
- More songs performed on The Ed Sullivan Show
- More hit songs originally recorded by other artists
- More songs used in movies
- More songs used in TV shows
- More songs from 1964
- Lyrics to Time Is On My Side
- The Rolling Stones Artistfacts
- Barry from Sauquoit, Ny On 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 on the Australian chart.
An estimated 3,000 screaming fans greeted the Stones & the Big ‘O’ at the airport.
- Barry from Sauquoit, Ny On 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 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, La Kai Winding and Irma Thomas versions send chills down your spine, where has that music gone? Youtube them.
- Lucas from Heerlen, Netherlands My dog said he wrote this song with his band :’)
- Matt from Elgin, United Kingdom Has anybody heard of the band from Chester called The Jade 5? A backing group around in the 60’s apparently.
- Matt from Elgin, United Kingdom My dad said he wrote this song with his band The Jade 5.
- George from Redlands, Ca Irma 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, Oh There 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, Belgium The 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, Ca This recording of the song is pretty good, but Irma Thomas’s original (not the one available now) was 10 times better.
- Z from Montreal, Canada I 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, Wales in the denzel washington film Fallen the antichrist mentioned by jed from somersets true name is Azazel
- Dave from Greenville, Sc Jimmy 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 Republic Ian Stewart (1938-1985) played in this song the organ.
- Jed from Somerset. Uk, England The 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, Ne It 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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