During their first US tour the Rolling Stones bumped into Irma Thomas' cover version of the Jerry Ragovoy (alias Norman Meade) song "Time Is On My Side", and the band decided to record the song themselves. Right after the tour (June 24-26, 1964) they returned to Regent Sound Studios, London, to give it a first try. The song was destined to be an American single and it appeared on the second USA album "12x5".
Ironically the same song, recorded later in the year at Chess Studios in Chicago, was set for inclusion on the Stones' second UK album, a true transatlantic mix-up. The difference is that the UK recorded version has a full organ introduction and a more pronounced tambourine, while the Chess version has a guitar introduction, and stinging guitar throughout, a mark of the band's improving powers of interpretation.
"Time Is On My Side" is a worthy ballad, poignant in context, and given the full Stones' treatment. The band once again had accomplished the feat of transposing a song into a Stones' original, just as they had done with Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away". Ian Stewart supplies the gospel-type organ.
Adapted from the following sources:
Martin Elliott, The Rolling Stones. Complete Recording Sessions 1962-2002, Cherry Red Records, 2002.
James Hector, The Complete Guide To The Music Of The Rolling Stones, Omnibus Press, 1995.