Rolling Stones songs: Time Waits For No One
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Drink in your summer, and gather your corn/ The dreams of the night time will vanish by dawn…
Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, Jan. 14-28 1974; Rolling Stones Mobile, Stargroves, Newbury, England, Apr. 1974; Island Recording Studios, London, England, May 20-25 1974
Guest musicians: Nicky Hopkins (piano), Ray Cooper (percussion)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This song, with a handy adage for a title, is a commentary on the value of time. Mick Jagger turned 30 the year it was released.
This was one of guitarist Mick Taylor’s last appearances with The Stones. He left after It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll because of differences with Keith Richards and frustration over not getting writing credits on this and other songs he helped compose. The only song he was credited on was “Ventilator Blues.”
For percussion, Mick Jagger brought in Ray Cooper, known for his work with Elton John.
This wasn’t released as a single, but it was recognized years later on The Rolling Stones “best of” compilation Sucking In The Seventies.
The Stones started working on this in 1971 during the Sticky Fingers sessions at Stargroves, the estate where Mick Jagger lived in Hampshire, England. It was the first song they recorded for It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll.
Before getting together to record the album, the band members had some time off and went their separate ways. Mick Taylor went to Brazil, which he credits for the Latin influence in the song.
On the It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll album, the “Glimmer Twins” get a production credit. This is a name for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The origin of the pseudonym: Jagger and Richards took a cruise in 1969 and found themselves at a table with an older English couple who vaguely recognized them. Jagger and Richards played coy, and the couple asked for a “glimmer,” as in a little hint as to who they were.
Mick Taylor said in 2012: “My favorite [Stones song] in terms of my own guitar playing is ‘Time Waits for No One.’ I love that solo. I think it’s probably the best thing I did with the Stones. It’s not one of their hits; it was an album track. But it’s quite lyrical and it’s a bit different from a lot of other Stones songs. I’d done something that I’d never done. Because of the structure of the song. It pushed my guitar playing in a slightly different direction…
…It’s more – I don’t like to use the term Carlos Santana-esque because it sounds too pretentious, but I kind of played in a different mode. I was playing over a C maj 7 to an F maj 7, which aren’t chords the Stones used that much. You know, they had their rock and roll songs and they had their ballads as well, and they were very different. And mostly the ballads were usually written by me.”
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Time Waits for No One” is a reflection on the passing years, and the
narrator looks back on his life: Time waits for no one, and he won’t wait for
me. He is drowning in nostalgia and regret: Hours are like diamonds, don’t
let them waste. There is a tragic inevitability in his words, for the dreams of
the nighttime have vanished by dawn. Might Mick Jagger be poking fun at
himself after having declared not long before that he could not imagine
singing rock ’n’ roll after turning thirty?
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