Time Waits for No One (song)
|"Time Waits for No One"|
|Song by The Rolling Stones from the album It's Only Rock 'n Roll|
|Released||18 October 1974|
January, April–May 1974
|Producer(s)||The Glimmer Twins|
|It's Only Rock 'n Roll track listing|
Credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Time Waits for No One" is a slower, smoother song than the ones for which the Stones are best known. The song features a distinctive groove that has been compared to the later (though earlier recorded) track "Waiting on a Friend". It is also noted for its distinct Latin influences. The song opens with a riff by Richards which echoes throughout the rest of the song. Drummer Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman keep affected jazz beats. Song contributor Ray Cooper provides the song's distinctive driving percussions, including tambourine, maracas and a knocking beat that carries through the entire song like the sound of a ticking clock. Wyman also contributes an early use of synthesizer on a Stones track. Stones recording veteran Nicky Hopkins provides the song's swirling piano runs.
The song's most noteworthy elements, however, are Mick Taylor's extended guitar solo and Jagger's lyrics. Taylor credits inspiration for the solo to a visit to Brazil following the Stones' European Tour 1973. Taylor's solo guitar piece carries the song to its notable conclusion.
Jagger's lyrics are a pastiche of complex observations and reflections. He speaks in the voice of a person learning the true meaning of life, that, as the title suggests, time waits for no one;
|“||Yes, star crossed in pleasure the stream flows on by; Yes, as we're sated in leisure, we watch it fly||”|
|“||Drink in your summer, gather your corn; The dreams of the night time will vanish by dawn||”|
"Time Waits for No One" has additional importance as it is seen as one of the final strains between the original Rolling Stones members and Mick Taylor. Prior to this time, Taylor had added his own riffs and flourishes to songs by Jagger and Richards, as did all the band members. However, after the song was written, Taylor asserts that his contribution to it was of main significance. As co-writer with Mick Jagger (during a period when Keith Richards was frequently absent) Taylor mentions that he had Jagger's assurance that he would receive songwriting credit (as well as for "Till the Next Goodbye") alongside usual credited composers Jagger and Richards, but he did not. His assurance had been such that he had mentioned it in an interview, prior to the album release with the recording, and was chagrined to find from the interviewer that no songs had credited him. It was this snub, along with the decision by the other Stones to head to Munich and begin recording the next album instead of touring in support of It's Only Rock 'n Roll, that was a major reason for Taylor's abrupt (and unexpected) resignation from the band.
Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine described "Time Waits for No One" as having "aching beauty". The song, though well regarded among the Stones' canon of work, has never been performed live and has only appeared on one compilation album, 1981's Sucking in the Seventies. This is a truncated version, with a running time some two minutes shorter than the original, with Taylor's solo faded out early. The track is also available on the compilation album Time Waits for No One: Anthology 1971–1977, issued in 1979. This was available on vinyl only (CDC59107) and has never been released on CD.
The Rolling Stones' song has certain affinity to the 1967 recording of the same name by the Lords of London. The Knack, a relatively unknown LA based band, had issued a different song by that name on the B-side of their debut single in 1967. "Time waits for no one" is also a lyric from the Moody Blues song "Driftwood". The phrase "Time Waits For No Man" - a variant that also appears in Jagger's lyrics - is used on John Mayall's Bare Wires album of 1968 (in the I Know Now part of the Bare Wires suite) to which Mick Taylor contributed both as guitar player and as composer.