You know Time Is On My Side as a 1964 Rolling Stones hit. But a year before Mick growled the lyrics into a studio mike, jazz trombonist Kai Winding [pictured] recorded the song first for producer Creed Taylor at Verve as a single. It never appeared on an LP.
The song was written by Jerry Ragovoy, under thepseudonym Norman Meade. Produced by Creed Taylor [pictured] and engineered by Phil Ramone, the Winding record featured background vocals by Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick. The single was recorded on October 3, 1963.
Here's Creed on Time Is On My Side...
Jerry Ragovoy was a great r&b writer. When I was at Verve, I wanted Kai to try his hand at more jazz-pop material. He had a wonderful, lyrical sound, and I knew his recordings of contemporary songs would do well on late-night and drive-time radio.
Jerry agreed to have Kai record the song, with Kai'strombone playing the role of of the singer. Behind his horn I had a backup gospel group. The record did fairly well. Then Irma Thomas recorded it followed by the Rolling Stones.
Jerry later told me the story ofhow the Rolling Stones wound up with the song. He said four raggedy English kids came up to his apartment asking for material. So he gave Mick Jagger Time Is On My Side.
I was fine with that. I thought their recording would help Kai Winding's. But it turned out to be the Stones' first big hitand Kai's recording was all but forgotten. But it's still quite good and became the mold for the song's natural feel."
Irma Thomas's single was recorded in early 1964, with lyrics added. Then came the Stones.