Earth Angel to Good Timin’: doc’s pick of 12/8 and 6/8 time songs, 1954-1978


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Selected 12/8 and 6/8 time* popular songs and recordings**, 1954-1978

12/8 and 6/8  time songs: part 1, 1954-1959 – “Earth Angel” to “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”

12/8 and 6/8 time songs: part 2, 1960-1963 – “At Last” to “Surfer Girl”

  • 1960 – At Last (Etta James version), Get Well Soon, P.S. I Love You (Starlets version), White Christmas (Statues version), You Belong to Me (Santo & Johnny version)
  • 1961 – Can’t Help Falling in Love, Come Home Soon, Daddy’s Home, House of the Rising Sun (Bob Dylan version), I Love How You Love Me, A Moment Ago, My True Story, A Sunday Kind of Love (Mystics version), Till (Angels version), Tragedy (Fleetwoods version)
  • 1962 – Bring It On Home to Me, Cry Baby Cry, Don’t Make Me Over, The End of the World, Surfer Girl, You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me
  • 1963 – Anyone Who Had a Heart, I’d Die, In My Room

12/8 and 6/8 time songs: part 3, 1964-1978 – “The Warmth of the Sun” to “Good Timin’”

  • 1964 – The Warmth of the Sun
  • 1965 – Didn’t Want to Have to Do It, It’s Gonna Take a Miracle, Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers version), Yes, I’m Ready
  • 1966 – Please Stay (The Cryin’ Shames version)
  • 1967 – I’ve Gotta Be Me, What a Wonderful World
  • 1969 – Hot Fun in the Summertime
  • 1970 – Colour My World
  • 1973 – Sail On, Sailor
  • 1974 – Good Timin’ (unfinished version)
  • 1976 – Always and Forever
  • 1978 – Good Timin’

12/8 and 6/8 time were so ubiquitous in songs and recordings of the late 50s and early 60s that I’ve no intention of trying to compile a comprehensive list. However, the above list may be added to from time to time.

I’ve decided to limit the songs included to those written by American songwriters, as I’ve generally done (with few exceptions) throughout this site. This decision eliminates from part three such Beatles songs as “This Boy,” “Yes It Is,” “Norwegian Wood,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and “Oh! Darling,” as well as the Moody Blues song “Nights in White Satin.” One exception: “Always and Forever,” written by Rod Temperton.

For now I plan to exclude folk songs in 12/8 time, and folk-style songs in that meter written by Bob Dylan and by others, including John Lennon doing Dylan. Examples of songs to be excluded:

  • 1962 – Masters of War
  • 1963 – The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, North Country Blues, Only a Pawn in Their Game, The Times They Are a-Changin’, With God on Our Side
  • 1965 – Norwegian Wood, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
  • 1966 – Just Like a Woman

One exception is Dylan’s 1961 recording of “House of the Rising Sun,” which I’ve decided to include.

Also omitted will be the 1971 John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band single “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” the main melody of which can be traced to that of the 1961 Greenbriar Boys version of the traditional song “Stewball,” a recording which features the lyric sung in earlier versions of the song by Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston but with a different melody. The “new” melody used by the Greenbriar Boys may have been adapted from the 1954 song “Pledging My Love.” The 1970 Lennon/Ono side even features guitars played to resemble the mandolin in the Greenbriar Boys version of “Stewball.”

Stewball (traditional)

The Greenbriar Boys, with Pete Seeger on flute — during a 1966 episode of Seeger’s Rainbow Quest


* selected articles, forum threads, and videos on 12/8 and 6/8 time:

counting time

6/8 vs. 12/8 time

12/8 time, articles and forum threads


** For items in the list in which a specific recording of a song is indicated, in each case this marks the first recording of the song in 12/8 or 6/8 time that I’ve identified. For all other songs in the list, the original recording is in 12/8 or 6/8 time.

*** The Hull Records sides “A Thousand Miles Away” by the Heartbeats, “Get Well Soon” by the Elegants, and “Daddy’s Home” by Shep and the Limelites were each produced by Blanche “Bea” Kaslin. Her last name is spelled thus in assorted bios, Hull Records histories and discographies, legal documents, and in an obit, but variously spelled Caslin, Casalin, and Caslon in other bios, histories, and discographies.


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