The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about songs in 7 is the band Rush. I grew up listening to classic rock and at the time I had no idea what 7/4 or 7/8 meant. As a musician myself, I always find myself falling for songs that have parts in 7/4 or 7/8.
So What Does 7/4 or 7/8 Mean Exactly?
The easiest way to explain this to someone who is not familiar with this time signature is to count to 7. For example, “1,2,3,4,5,6,7” and and start back at one.
Take a song like “Times Like These,” by The Foo Fighters. This track is in 7/4 starting at 13 seconds before going back to 4/4. This means that if you count to 7 starting at 13 seconds, you will be counting in the correct signature.
Are you interested in some of the synthesizers these bands use? Check out this in-depth article on the best synthesizers.
7/4 VS 7/8
This is an argument amongst those who are musically inclined. The easiest way to break this down is to picture 7 quarter notes VS 7 eighth notes.
Let’s get into some of my favorite songs that use 7/4 & 7/8 below.
Popular Songs In 7/4 & 7/8
Times Like These – Foo Fighters
Jump to 13 seconds and you will hear the song into 7/4. This is a super popular song that is also extremely fun to play along to. The guitar riff is totally iconic and it takes advantage of D Mixolydian.
Tom Sawyer – Rush
You can’t do this list without mentioning Rush. Quite frankly, I could mention them a bunch more, so, for this reason, I will keep it just this one song. Tom Sawyer starts in 4/4, but goes into an ever-popular breakdown which incorporates 7/8. If you’re a synth player, drummer or guitar player, you probably can’t get enough of this part of the song.
Every time I play along to this song and the breakdown comes I get pumped. It’s just super fun to play along to. It makes you wonder why super fun instrumental sections aren’t included in popular music much nowadays?
If you’re a fan of Rush, you should check out these two guides I created below.
Money – Pink Floyd
If you are a bass player, I can positively say that you’ve heard of or have played this song. It’s a classic and it’s great fun. From the opening lick of “Money”, you are hooked into a great riff that is timeless.
2+2+5=7 – Radiohead
Radiohead’s ability to create songs that feel somewhat simplistic, yet are quite difficult, is second to none. They have a good number of songs that are in 7 or that drift into 7 at different points and it seems like every time they do this, they get it right.
I think that Radiohead puts together some of the most haunting and beautiful melodies that I’ve ever heard. Their use of diminished and augmented chords is heavy and they never shy away from a key change or tempo change.
This is the type of band that comes around every 20 years and inspires music generations for the rest of time. I’ve spent hours analyzing and playing their songs and they’ve left a mark on some incredible bands coming up in the world today.
Broken Social Scene – Shoreline
Shoreline features a super hooky guitar part that is in 7. It feels nostalgic and it immediately pulls you back into the early 2000s. I can only imagine that most people who come across this list will be looking for this song.
Personally, I feel like this is a very underrated track and I’m surprised it hasn’t landed even more commercial placements over the years. Going back and listening to this song brought me back to the sweet time where perfectly sampled drums weren’t on every track.
With this being said, I’m not taking a shot at bands who quantize and sample everything, rather just stating the clear difference in the way that the drums sounded before everything was sampled.
All You Need Is Love – The Beatles
“All You Need Is Love” is a beautiful song that hits you with the verses being in 7. The chorus goes back to 4/4, however, I always found the verses super fun in this song.
The Beatles have always been known for pushing the needle when it came to writing songs.
While some may make the argument that none of them were the most technical players, it’s near impossible to say that they weren’t innovators and extremely creative with their songwriting.
They make this song flow so well, despite the time changes, allowing it to become an incredible anthem sang all over the world.
Paranoid Android – Radiohead
This track has always been one of my go-to night-driving songs. When the 7 section hits, it gets me so pumped with this mysteriousness to it. The musicianship in this song is next-level when you compare it to a lot of other songs.
Released in 1997, “Paranoid Android” instantly captured millions of people’s hearts and minds and, in my opinion, was an impressive track to come out during the grunge phase. It not only had the raw and energetic feel in the recording, but it also was extremely technical.