Original air date September 7, 2019 | Time 59:00
Rock n Roll is built on a strong back beat - one TWO three FOUR - starting with the Everly Bros in the 50's and through the British Invasion of the 60's. It's highly unusual when a musician wanders into the unknown territory of ODD Time signatures, for instance five beats per measure instead of four. Middle Eastern rhythms and even Greek are often in seven!
For me, an odd time signature is exciting, it changes the way the melody is phrased and adds an unexpected swing to the beats, to the turn around of the rhythm. Sometimes it's barely noticeable, for instance listen to Nick Drake's "River Man", with the entire song in 5/4, giving a lullaby like rocking feel. Other times it's used to alternate the feeling of the verses and choruses, for instance in Steve Winwood's "Raging Sea" with the verses in 7/4 and the chorus in 4/4. Amazing!! And then there are the extreme treatments that approach chaos and a wild feeling throughout the entire piece in King Crimson's "Discipline" where two lead guitars play together in different time signatures simultaneously and the drummer is in 17/16 (weirdest time signature I've ever seen).
But my favorite example is John Lennon's "Don't Let Me Down". There's one phrase in 5/4 which is the intro line to the verses. "Nobody ever told me that she done" is five beats then the rest of the song in four. When I first heard this song it got my attention big time but I didn't realize why at first. Take a listen and see what you think!