There are several great songs with this title, including Bowie’s and Pink Floyd’s. But the one I recently discovered is by Richard Hell, who I think deserves to be in the conversation.

Hell refers to “Time” as “what some people, including me, consider to be my best song.” But he had a hard time recording it to his satisfaction; he remade and remixed it numerous times. Five different versions appear on Destiny Street Complete, the omnibus edition of the Voidoids’ star-crossed second album.

My favorite, I think, is the one from the original album. It’s raw and ragged, but really, really real.

The 2021 remaster is cleaned up, maybe a little too much:

The “demo” version that appears on the last disc of DSC is, strangely, better-produced, with chiming guitars and a much more complex and prominent bassline. But the tempo is frantic and Richard sounds like he’s having to rush through it.

Destiny Street Complete also includes a performance from a 2004 memorial service for Voidoids guitarist Robert Quine. The vocal is all over the place (“My voice is quavery,” says RH, “because I’m trying to keep the tears from falling.”) and Ivan Julian’s guitar playing is a mess; but the emotion is authentic, and that has to count for something.

One last footnote: “Time” was covered by the Minutemen, who I guess were the Voidoids’ West Coast counterparts — both members of the very small club of punk bands who covered Creedence songs. Their version is appropriately shaggy.

There’s some larger point here — something about how the punk bands who didn’t sever their rock’n’roll roots are the ones who have lasted. But that’s all the (cough) time we have for today. Peace out.