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."
After visiting islands made famous by Homer's Odyssey, artist Martin Sharp (who would go on to do the cover art for Cream's Disraeli Gears) wrote this poetic tune to the melody of "Suzanne," specifically, Judy Collins' cover of Leonard Cohen's song. Through a mutual acquaintance, Sharp got the lyrics to Eric Clapton, who worked them into a guitar riff inspired by the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City." The song marked Clapton's first use of the wah-wah guitar effect. "I always liked that song," said Jack Bruce, who sang it. "I think it was the wah-wah that did it for me. I'm a sucker for wah-wah."