Song Stories

“Time Is on My Side”

The Rolling Stones | 1964

Introduced by a triumphant drawn-out guitar riff, "Time Is On My Side" was a vehicle for the Rolling Stones to boast of their inevitable victory in a relationship, set to an arrangement as much gospel as rock. The gospel feel was more pronounced in the version by New Orleans soul singer Irma Thomas that served as the model for the Stones' more rock-oriented interpretation. "I made it up one day, and I hated it!" declared writer Jerry Ragovoy in Rolling Stone. "But I did it because of the difficulty of submitting material, as I was already known as a producer."

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The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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