As I mentioned, the song was released three times with the initial version from September 1966 being a unique recording of the tune. It is faster and a bit different than the later hit version of the song – the differences are especially noticeable with the guitar parts in the intro and during the short instrumental break. In addition, it had a unique catalog number of 4-43816 while the two later editions of the song were both issued by Columbia as 4-44414. The flip side of the 1966 release was “Dinah.”
When the band recorded their album “Time Has Come Today” in 1967, they laid down a new 11 minute version of the tune; however, radio would never play a song that length, so Columbia edited the single down to 3:05 for release on the day after Christmas. Unimaginably, they faded the song at the first instrumental break. Like the original version from a year earlier, version two flopped.
Columbia believed in this record, so after the dust settled, a second edit of the new version at 4:55 was issued in July 1968. It proved the old adage that the third time was a charm. It was released with the same flip, their impression [get it] of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” and the same catalog number.
The 1968 rendition was their first top 40 hit making it all the way to #11 where it stayed for five weeks. This was a true edit of the long version and it proved to be the key to the song’s success. While The Chambers Brothers had one other Top 40 hit with their follow-up “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” “Time Has Come Today” is considered their magnum opus.
One can’t feature this classic psychedelic soul cut without including the entire 11 minute version of this classic ‘60s cut. Enjoy all of the interesting tidbits of this recording including the heavy use of reverb, the two cowbells doing a tick-tock sound, strange tempo changes, fuzz guitar, electric sitar, screams, laughs, wolf howls, and Martin Denny type bird calls. To top it off, there’s a bit of “The Little Drummer Boy” in the middle of the song. Makes you wonder what they were tripping on the day they recorded this tune.