This song, written by producer and composer Jerry Ragovoy using the pseudonym Norman Meade, was originally recorded by the jazz trombonist Kai Winding and his Orchestra on the Verve Records label in October 1963. His version was largely instrumental with only the chorus of “time is on my side; you’ll come running back to me” sung by a background trio of singers who would later become famous soloists: Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney), Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick. This version is the one that James L. King III’s arrangement is based upon, with the original 1963 lyrics and instrumental form.
Jimmy Norman, a member of the Coasters, wrote the lyrics for the verses, and Irma Thomas would record a cover, with the addition of a spoken-word bridge; in June of 1964. The Rolling Stones performed a cover of that cover in September of 1964 (without the spoken-word bridge), and it became their first top 10 hit in the United States. The Rolling Stones released two versions of this song: in an ironic twist, the US single was recorded in England and the British single was recorded in the United States.
This song played a key role in the suspense thriller Fallen with Denzel Washington and John Goodman.
Key: Bb Major
Mood: grooving, hopeful, content
Pedagogy: 6/8 time, 1st/2nd/3rd endings, pentatonic sales.