Jerry Ragovoy

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Jerry Ragovoy
Birth nameJordan Ragovoy
Also known asNorman Meade
Born(1930-09-04)September 4, 1930
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
DiedJuly 13, 2011(2011-07-13) (aged 80)
GenresPop music
Occupation(s)Songwriter, record producer, studio owner
Years active1953–2003

Jordan "Jerry" Ragovoy (September 4, 1930 – July 13, 2011)[1][2] was an American songwriter and record producer.

His best-known composition "Time Is on My Side" (written under the pseudonym of Norman Meade) was made famous by the Rolling Stones, although it had been recorded earlier by Kai Winding and Irma Thomas. Ragovoy also wrote "Stay With Me", which was originally recorded by Lorraine Ellison and made famous by Bette Midler in her film The Rose. It was also performed by Mary J. Blige at the 49th Grammy Awards.[3]

He also wrote "Piece of My Heart" which became a significant hit for Big Brother and the Holding Company, featuring Janis Joplin. During the 1960s, Ragovoy "helped mould the new African-American sound of soul music", according to the obituary in The Guardian.[4] During this venture, he co-wrote the Afro-pop dance song "Pata Pata" with Miriam Makeba; the song became a major hit for Makeba and was covered by numerous other artists.

He was the founder of The Hit Factory.[5]

Early life and career[edit]

Ragovoy was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of a Hungarian-born Jewish optometrist.[6] He entered record production in 1953 with "My Girl Awaits Me" by the Castelles.[3]

Another well-known song by Ragovoy is "Piece of My Heart", co-written with Bert Berns and recorded originally by Erma Franklin, and later famously covered by Big Brother and the Holding Company, featuring Janis Joplin. Between 1966 and 1968, Ragovoy was employed as producer and songwriter for the Warner Bros subsidiary Loma Records. He also co-wrote several songs in Janis Joplin's solo career, including "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" (originally by Lorraine Ellison on Loma Records), "Cry Baby" (originally by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters), "Get it While You Can" (originally by Howard Tate, covered by Joplin) and "My Baby". In 1984, Ragovoy written "Tell Me What Can I Do", a duet sang by Crystal Gayle and Hong Kong singer Danny Chan.[7]

Prior to Joplin's death, Ragovoy wrote a song especially for her next album, titled "I'm Gonna Rock My Way to Heaven". The song was never recorded or performed until shortly before Ragovoy's death in July 2011, when it was included in the theatrical production A Night with Janis Joplin, written and directed by Randy Johnson with arrangements and musical direction by Len Rhodes. Ragovoy was in attendance on opening night when the show premiered at Portland Center Stage on 27 May 2011.

Later career[edit]

Ragovoy also produced recorded work by Bonnie Raitt and Milkwood.[3] However, his involvement in the music industry was less prolific from the 1970s onwards.[3]

In 1968 Ragovoy created and was the original owner of the famous world class recording complex HIT FACTORY STUDIOS in Manhattan hosting numerous well known R&R artists.[8][9]

In 1973, he won a Grammy Award as producer on Best Score From an Original Cast Show Album, for Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope.[10]

In 1974, Ragovoy teamed up with Dionne Warwick to produce her Then Came You album,[11] which peaked at No. 35 in the US Billboard R&B albums chart.[12]

In 2003, Ragovoy worked again with Howard Tate. The pair returned with an acclaimed CD, Howard Tate Rediscovered, written, arranged and produced by Ragovoy.[13]

In 2008, Ace Records released a compilation album entitled, The Jerry Ragovoy Story: Time Is on My Side.[14]

In 2012, Ragovoy was portrayed by actor Brad Garrett in the film Not Fade Away.[15]


Ragovoy died, following a stroke, on July 13, 2011, at the age of 80.[2]

Notable compositions[edit]

Song title Artist Others
"About This Thing Called Love" Fabian
"Ain't Nobody Home" Howard Tate B. B. King, Bonnie Raitt
"All I Know is the Way I Feel" Irma Thomas Howard Tate, the Pointer Sisters
"A Wonderful Dream" The Majors
"Cloudy with a Chance of Tears" The Manhattans
"Cry Baby" Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters Janis Joplin
"Eight Days on the Road" Howard Tate Aretha Franklin, Foghat
"Either Side of the Same Town" Howard Tate Elvis Costello
"Get It While You Can" Howard Tate Janis Joplin, Chris Cornell
"Girl Happy" Elvis Presley
"Heart Be Still" Lorraine Ellison Peter Straker
"I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face" Baby Washington Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, Madeline Bell
"I'll Make It Up to You" Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters Manfred Mann
"I'll Take Good Care Of You" Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters
"It's Been Such a Long Way Home" Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters
"It Was Easier to Hurt Her" Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters Chris Farlowe, Dusty Springfield (Wayne Fontana)
"Looking for You" Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters Chris Farlowe
"Love Makin' Music" Barry White
"Morning Light" (co-writer with Don Benoliel) Louis Jordan Royal Crown Revue
"Move Me No Mountain" Dionne Warwick Hank Crawford, Chaka Khan, Soul II Soul, Love Unlimited
"My Baby" Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters Janis Joplin, the Yardbirds
"My Girl Awaits Me" The Castelles
"One Way Love" The Drifters Bryan Ferry
"Pata Pata" Miriam Makeba Osibisa, Percy Faith
"Piece of My Heart" Erma Franklin Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Brooklyn Bridge, Dusty Springfield, the Move, Bonnie Tyler, Faith Hill, Janis Joplin
"Ring Bell" Miriam Makeba
"Stay with Me" Lorraine Ellison Sharon Tandy, the Walker Brothers, Bette Midler, Terry Reid, Phil Seymour, Michael Grimm, Ten Wheel Drive, Steve Marriott, Chris Cornell
"Stop" Howard Tate James Gang, Jimi Hendrix, Band of Gypsies, Melvins, Super Session (Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield & Stephen Stills)
"Sure Thing" Dionne Warwick
"Tell Me What Can I Do" Crystal Gayle, Danny Chan Joey Carbone
"Time Is on My Side" Kai Winding Irma Thomas, the Rolling Stones, the Moody Blues, Tracy Nelson
"Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" Lorraine Ellison Janis Joplin
"What's It Gonna Be" Dusty Springfield Barbara Acklin
"Where Did My Baby Go" Butterfield Blues Band
"You Better Believe It" Small Faces
"You Don't Know Nothing About Love" Carl Hall Lorraine Ellison, Renée Geyer, Ryan Shaw, Jill Scott, Mighty Sam McClain, Chris Cornell
"You Got It" Diana Ross



  1. ^ [1] Archived October 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c Doc Rock. "2011 July To December". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Archived from the original on 2015-08-18. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  3. ^ a b c d Unterberger, Richie. "Jerry Ragovoy - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  4. ^ "Jerry Ragovoy obituary". The Guardian. 10 February 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019. Jerry Ragovoy, who has died aged 80 from complications following a stroke, was the songwriter behind some of the best-loved ballads of the 1960s, including Time Is On My Side, a hit for the Rolling Stones, and Piece of My Heart, which became Janis Joplin's signature song. Ragovoy specialised in creating three-minute songs of intense emotion, enhanced by complex orchestral arrangements and was one of several white American songwriters and producers who, in the 1960s, helped mould the new African-American sound of soul music.
  5. ^ Harry Maslin[who?]
  6. ^ Laing, Dave (20 July 2011). "Jerry Ragovoy obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  7. ^ ""Tell Me What Can I Do" EP".
  8. ^ Grimes, William (16 July 2011). "Jerry Ragovoy, Songwriter and Producer, Is Dead at 80". Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  9. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (19 July 2011). "Soul Songwriter Jerry Ragovoy Dead at 80". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Jerry Ragovoy - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
  11. ^ Jason Elias. "Then Came You - Dionne Warwick | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  12. ^ "Then Came You - Dionne Warwick | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  13. ^ "News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-04-07.[dead link]
  14. ^ Richie Unterberger (2008-04-29). "The Jerry Ragovoy Story: Time Is on My Side 1953-2003 - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
  15. ^ "NYFF 2012 Critic's Choice - "Something In The Air" and "Not Fade Away" - Independent Magazine". Independent Magazine. 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  16. ^ "Artist: Jerry Ragovoy". Second Hand Songs. Archived from the original on 2005-11-27. Retrieved 2013-04-07.

External links[edit]