50 Popular Songs in 6/8 Time (2024 With Tabs)

The best way to grow as a guitarist is to expose yourself to a wide variety of genres, playing styles, and time signatures! While most of us start our guitar-playing journey by learning to play simple 4/4 songs, things get really interesting when you add more rhythm patterns into the mix, like the 6/8 pattern.

Brad Paisley Playing One of the Most Popular Songs in 6/8 Time Signature
Photo by Walt Disney Television

So today, we’re sharing many popular songs in 6/8 time signature. From rock, pop, and folk to country, you’ll find this interesting time signature used all across. Don’t forget to scroll to the end to find out how 3/4 and 6/8 time are different from each other too!

List of Songs in 6/8 Time

1. House of the Rising Sun by Animals

Album The Animals (1964)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Folk-rock
Tabs See tabs for House of the Rising Sun

A traditional 19-century folk ballad, “House of the Rising Sun,” first came into prominence after getting covered by British rockers the Animals in 1964. The band’s rockier take on the folk staple was a huge hit with the fans, becoming possibly the first folk-rock chart-topping single ever.

The Animals’ retained the folksy vibe by minimally altering the lyrics that chronicle the corrupting influence of a big city on a man’s life. Since the Animals’ version, numerous artists have covered the song in varied styles, including Appalachian, rock, blues, country, and even heavy metal.

It’s the perfect song to get familiar with 6/8 swing time. Chord-wise, if you already know Am, C, D, Fmaj7, and open E, you’re golden! If not, there are plenty of excellent tutorials floating online. We’ve got a pretty neat one linked above to help you get started.

2. Blue Ain’t Your Color by Keith Urban

Album Ripcord (2016)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Country blues, Country pop
Tabs See tabs for Blue Ain’t Your Color

Australian singer Keith Urban’s 2016 chart-topper “Blue Ain’t Your Color’s” fascinating 6/8 rhythm and tune lends a bluesy spin to this sparsely-arranged country ballad. The soulful track features some of the best singing Urban has done yet!

Urban’s smooth vocals may be the hero here, but the lyrics are not far behind! It’s a witty yet empathetic conversation where he’s heard cheering up a lovelorn woman who’s reeling from a painful breakup.

Now, we know what an incredible guitarist Urban is, and we get to sample some of that amazing talent when he belts out a short but impactful slide guitar solo. From Urban’s Ripcord album, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” is a joy to learn and play. It’s written in the key of G major and built around G-Am-C-D-G chord progression.

3. From the Inside by Linkin Park

Album Meteora (2003)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Nu metal
Tabs See tabs for From the Inside

Names like Metallica and Linkin Park showing up in a list of songs written in waltz 6/8 rhythm might seem surprising but also show the versatility of this time signature. “From the Inside” is one of the underrated gems from Linkin Park’s seminal album, Meteora.

It’s undoubtedly one of the most dramatic songs by the nu-metal giants, which kicks off melodically, picking up in heaviness and intensity as it progresses. For me, perhaps the most jaw-dropping part is when Bennington screams for ten whole seconds during the bridge! Check out this B-side wonder if you haven’t already! Links and tabs above. This is one of my personal favorite songs in 6/8 time signature.

4. Nothing Else Matters by Metallica

Album Metallica (1991)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Heavy metal, hard rock
Tabs See tabs for Nothing Else Matters

Everything comes to a halt, and indeed “Nothing Else Matters” whenever I heard this iconic Metallica power ballad! The song cracked the top ten in many countries and made Metallica a household name. Despite being quite different from the band’s usual sound, it didn’t take long for this slow, melodic rocker to win over hearts across the globe.

The lyrics were penned by a homesick James Hetfield while on tour, solely for his own consumption, until drummer Lars Ulrich heard it and pushed for an album release.

The emotionally charged guitar riffs and that rare and fabulous Hetfield solo are the stuff of every guitarist’s dream. Now a staple at most of their live gigs, “Nothing Else Matters” was written in the time signature of 6/8 with an intro featuring E minor arpeggio.

You simply cannot dispute the timelessness and ubiquity of this track which was the first from the band’s discography to clock over a billion views on YouTube as recently as August this year!

5. Gravity by John Mayer

Album Continuum (2006)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Blues rock, soft rock, soul
Tabs See tabs for Gravity

The emotional depth of this bluesy track is astounding! It manages to make me smile and teary-eyed at the same time! Featuring in not one but three of his albums, “Gravity” also happens to be its creator, John Mayer’s personal favorite! His Live in L.A. solo is perhaps one of the most emotionally layered guitar pieces I’ve ever heard and manages the outshine his signature raspy, soulful vocals.

Brilliant vocals and virtuosic guitar skills aside, Mayer has a knack for coming up with very relatable lyrics. In “Gravity,” he talks about the importance of loving yourself and not letting the unpleasant aspects of life spiral you into darkness. Another factor that adds to the distinctive quality of the song is its unusual time signature. “Gravity” is written in 6/8, with each measure consisting of 6/8th notes.

6. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley

Album Grace (2007)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Folk, alt-rock, pop
Tabs See tabs for Hallelujah

You would have definitely heard this song, if not its recorded versions, then certainly at the very many televised talent shows where it is a participant favorite! Jeff Buckley’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s original “Hallelujah” is considered a definitive version by many in the music community. His evocative voice, accompanied only by a guitar, breathes life and adds another emotional dimension to Cohen’s iconic lyrics.

Every time I hear Buckley’s ethereal vocals, I can’t help but feel sad how he wasn’t around to see the phenomenal success of this masterpiece. The song was released ten years after the untimely death of the talented singer in 1997. Not surprisingly, this gorgeous song conquered the charts and won hearts all across the globe. Buckley’s cover was also inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2014.

If you’re wondering how to go about playing your guitar, then fret not; we’ve got you covered! You can start by placing a capo on the first fret and brushing up on C, Am, F, G, and E7 chords. Check out the linked tabs and tutorials and get this beautiful ballad under your belt!

7. We Are the Champions by Queen

Album News of the World (1977)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs See tabs for We are the Champions

Let’s kick off this list with a song that’s famously called “the catchiest” in the history of rock, and there’s a solid scientific explanation for why it sounds awesome! According to a team of researchers, the popular Queen earworm “We Are the Champions” is a clever concoction of neuroscience, math, and cognitive psychology that gives it a unique sing-along quality.

A frequent feature at major sports events, including the 1994 FIFA World Cup, this song is an excellent example of a slower-paced melody in a 6/8 time signature. It can be a bit challenging to figure out the time signature since the half-measures aren’t all that easy to make out, but you can hear them clearly in the drum beats in some parts of the song.

Brian May’s guitar wizardry further adds to the excitement by subtly building a melody using multi-tracked guitars before unleashing pedal, overdrives, and belting out a killer solo! Take a look at the linked tabs and add this fantastic song to your repertoire!

8. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) by The Beatles

Album Rubber Soul (1965)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Raga rock, psychedelic folk
Tabs See tabs for Norwegian Wood

Many believe that the cornerstone of the Beatles’ popularity was the creative partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Their synergy produced brilliantly composed gems. One of them is this 1965 psychedelic hit “Norwegian Wood,” widely regarded as a significant step towards blending world music with rock, specifically pioneering the raga rock movement.

The lyrics were intended as a cryptic account of Lennon’s extramarital affair, as admitted by the man himself. Lennon’s introspective songwriting was packaged in a dreamy, exotic vibe thanks to his double-tracked vocals and George Harrison’s droning sitar. It was the first time this instrument was being used in a Beatles or any Western song, for that matter.

In 2004, Rolling Stone named this Beatles classic as no. 83 on “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” “Norwegian Wood” is written in a Dylan-inspired waltz time signature and is a great pick to brush up on or get familiar with loose strumming in 6/8 rhythm.

9. Subterranean Homesick Alien by Radiohead

Album OK Computer (1997)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Alternative, indie
Tabs See tabs for Subterranean Homesick Alien

This 6/8-rhythm Radiohead song has pretty fascinating origins. While on his driving a country road, frontman Thom Yorke ran over a pheasant. When he got out to inspect the situation, his mind started buzzing with the thoughts of alien abduction.

He instantly recalled his first-ever school essay, which was about seeing the world from an alien’s perspective, and decided to write this hypnotic sci-fi fare. Clever lyrics aside, the song is powered by brilliant synthesizers and guitars in “Subterranean Homesick Alien,” rendering a sound similar to Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.

Originally titled “Uptight,” but later changed to “Subterranean Homesick Alien,” which is a play on Bob Dylan’s iconic “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” being sonically and lyrically radically different from the classic.

10. Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel

Album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Psychedelic folk
Tabs See tabs for Scarborough Fair

Recorded by many, but Simon & Garfunkel’s spell-binding version of the ancient folk ballad remains the most definitive to date. The thing that’s perhaps most alluring about the duo’s rendition of “Scarborough Fair” is its pairing with their ironic hit “Canticle” through vocal and instrumentation overdubs. The medieval tale of jilted love sounds even more poignant and intense, interspersed with “Canticle’s” anti-war lyrics.

The duo’s ethereal voices, interplaying with each other, and the intricate guitar melodies create a world in itself – it’s nothing less than pure sorcery. So it’s no wonder that so many musicians feel inspired to recreate Simon and Garfunkel’s legendary version in their own ways, even decades later.

The song sounds beautiful in both 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures. For the 6/8 rhythm, use your thumb to play the bass notes and your fingers to pick the melody. The original recording is a delight for aspiring guitarists. It’s packed with intricate fingerpicking and layers of guitar work to power that gorgeous melody. Emulating the original will be challenging but well worth the effort!

11. She’s Always a Woman by Billy Joel

Album The Stranger (1977)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Pop, piano rock
Tabs See tabs for She’s Always a Woman

This endearing love song was written by Billy Joel for his then-wife, Elizabeth Weber. Her no-nonsense, tough style of managing Joel’s career was labeled “unfeminine” by many in the record business. Bizarre, right?! This song was Joel’s way of telling Weber that she was a woman ahead of her times, although many argue it to be a tad misogynistic and narcissistic.

Whatever your interpretation may be, the fact remains it is a sonic delight propelled by a captivating piano-driven melody. You can replicate Joel’s piano by using a capo on the first fret and employing fingerstyle. Fun fact- Joel was trying to mimic a folksy, fingerpicked guitar melody on his piano when he composed this song.

“She’s Always a Woman” was a frequent feature at Joel’s concerts in the late ‘70s but was removed from the setlist after his divorce, returning to his gig repertoire only in 2006.

12. Call Me by Blondie

Album Autoamerican (1980)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Dance rock, new wave
Tabs See tabs for Call Me

“Call Me” by new wave group Blondie was a massive ‘80s hit that conquered all major charts and spent a whopping six weeks as no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Composed as a theme to the 1980 movie American Gigolo by the “father of disco” and Blondie’s frontwoman Debbie Harry, the song was a phenomenally catchy rocker. Moroder wanted danceable, infectious energy, which is exactly what the track delivered.

Surprisingly, there aren’t many tabs or tutorials available for Chris Stein’s guitar work in this one, but we’ve found one to help out those of you who want to add this beauty to your setlist. You’ll be playing this song in a 6/8 time signature with a capo on the first fret.

13. If You Don’t Know Me By Now by Simply Red

Album A New Flame (1989)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Blue-eyed soul, jazz
Tabs See tabs for If You Don’t Know Me By Now

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes 1972 original “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” was already a much-adored classic in the soul and R&B circles before it was brought into the mainstream spotlight, more than a decade later by English band Simply Red. From their 1989 album A New Flame. Not only did this track hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, but it also won the pop and soul group a Grammy for the Best R&B Song.

In contrast with the original’s generous use of strings and saxophones, Simply Red’s version was more dialed down, just the lead singer Mike Hucknall’s raw, heartfelt vocals backed by a spare arrangement. You can make out the track’s 6/8 time by paying close attention to the groove. The beats go 1-2-3-4-5-6, 1-2-3-4-5-6 with one and four as the more prominent ones.

14. Let Me Roll It by Paul McCartney and Wings

Album Band on the Run (1974)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Blues rock
Tabs See tabs for Let Me Roll It

There’s a definite sonic print in this Paul McCartney and Wings classic that’s reminiscent of the Beatles’ style, particularly John Lennon’s. Intentional or not, that’s open to debate. However, according to McCartney, he admitted the vocals bore a resemblance to Lennon, something he didn’t realize while recording it.

A B-side release to “Jet,” “Let Me Roll It,” is a nice, catchy single that keeps you hooked from start to finish. The edgy rocker that became a staple on McCartney’s live setlist kicks off with a slow organ riff followed by a great Lennon-ish riff that repeats itself through the length of the track.

Discerning time signatures takes time and patience. In this song, the 6/8 time becomes clearer once the drummer taps the cymbals, spelling out subdivisions distinctly and sticking to the 6/8th beat on hi-hat. Also, observe how the guitar and bass join in on 4,5,6 beats. Figuring out time signatures of songs is a fun little exercise, don’t you agree?

15. Lights by Journey

Album Infinity (1978)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Soft rock
Tabs See tabs for Lights

The next song on our list fits the definition of a sleeper hit. When “Lights” was first released in San Francisco rock band Journey’s 1978 album, it didn’t grab as much attention as the band had hoped, peaking at #68 on the Billboard Hot 100. But over time, its popularity gained momentum, becoming the band’s most recognizable and favorite on the airwaves.

“Lights” also kick-started frontman Steve Perry’s journey with the band. He penned the song in Los Angeles, describing his love for the place and its spectacular sunset. The city was tweaked to San Francisco in the final recording due to the band’s origins. The song became a major hit in the city, enjoying immense ubiquity, especially at sporting events.

It took Perry and guitarist Neal Schon all of twenty minutes to compose! “Lights” is a great pick to practice playing in 6/8 time and features a tasty guitar solo that I bet you’ll enjoy learning! This is easily one of the most popular songs in 6/8 time signature.

16. Breaking the Girl by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1992)
Tuning Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb (E Flat)
Genre Acoustic rock, psychedelic rock
Tabs See tabs for Breaking The Girl

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ fifth album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, was an adventurous departure from their previous heavy metal-oriented Mother’s Milk. Courtesy of guitarist John Frusciante, the band decided to amp up the melodic factor and went no-holds barred on the lyrics. The album became such a huge success that it made Frusciante quit the band, overwhelmed with fame and adulation!

As one of the very few songs composed by famous rockers in 6/8 rhythm, psychedelic “Breaking the Girl” stands out not only in this album but in their entire repertoire. It’s a melodically complex ballad that revolves around frontman Anthony Kiedis’s tumultuous past relationship.

Frusciante plays mesmerizing Led Zeppelin-esque riffs on his 12-string that’s tuned to E-flat standard. Listen closely to the percussion breakdown that happens around the bridge three minutes into the track. It’s magical!

17. Tightrope by Michelle Williams (The Greatest Showman)

Album The Greatest Showman (2017)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Pop
Tabs See tabs for Tightrope

Sung beautifully by Michelle Williams, ‘Tightrope’ features in the Hugh Jackman starrer musical ‘The Greatest Showman’. It’s a sweet acoustic pop song about leaving your world behind and taking a leap of faith, all to be with someone who you believe in. With a gentle 6/8 rhythm and a familiar, pleasing melody, it’s a pretty neat song to learn for polishing 6/8 strumming chops and to switch chords fluidly with this strumming style. The chords won’t really give you a tough time either – you’ll be playing the usual A, D, E, C#, Bm, Dm, C#/E# and F#m.

18. Latch by Disclosure ft Sam Smith

Album Settle (2012)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Electronic Music
Tabs See tabs for Latch

I’m sure you’ve realized by now that the 6/8 rhythm pattern is incredibly versatile and lends itself to several genres without a hitch. ‘Latch’ by the English Electronic music duo Disclosure and featuring vocals by Sam Smith is another unique example of it being used in dance music. The track was the lead single from their debut album “Settle,” and although it did pretty well in the UK from get-go, it took a little time to climb up the US charts – but climb it did.

When it comes to EDM music, most songs are in 4/4 time, but with ‘Latch, Disclosure wanted to shake things up a little. So along with writing the track in an unconventional 6/8 time signature, they also blended jazz chords and lyrics of substance. But at the same time, this creative departure from usual EDM music made Disclosure that this track will be embraced by the EDM audience. Luckily for them, it was received really well!

19. Baby’s in Black by The Beatles

Album Beatles for Sale (1964)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Folk Rock
Tabs See tabs for Baby’s in Black

“Baby’s in black and I’m feeling blue.” This poignant track is one of my personal favorites by The Beatles for many reasons. First, it’s an interesting mish-mash of styles and genres – incorporating elements of the waltz (that’s where it gets the 6/8 rhythm from) but also borrowing from blues and folk rock. Plus, Lennon and McCartney have a really cool vocal melody going on simultaneously. So while the final product may sound coherent to the listener, it does contain a lot of cool genre elements to enjoy if you listen closely.

The Beatles themselves considered this song to be quite unique and ‘offbeat’ from their usual ones, often introducing it by saying, ” Now, here’s something different” in their live performances. If you’re a guitarist, you’re going to really enjoy playing this one, and the chords are not tough to get a hold of either. The track involves A, E7, D7, D, E, A7, F#m7, and B7. It may not be one of their super popular tracks, but you’ll love belting this one out, I promise.

20. Back To Life by Rascal Flatts

Album Soundtrack To Summer 2019 (2019)
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Country
Tabs See tabs for Back To Life

The 39th single released by the Country band “Rascal Flatts,” Back to Life is a heartfelt song about love and togetherness, set to a groovy 6/8 rhythm that serves the theme of the track pretty well. This is the first time Rascal Flatts released a single truly as a standalone track rather than as part of an album.

With its characteristic country style, gentle swing, and relatable lyrics, Back to Life is a great song to have in your gigging repertoire. The chords are pretty easy to grasp – you’ll be playing E, A, C#m, B and F#m throughout the song. The track lends itself, especially to a solo acoustic performance – and the vocals will also give you a chance to showcase your singing prowess.

21. Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers

Album Just Once in My Life
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Pop
Tabs View Unchained Melody Tabs Here

“Unchained Melody” was one of the most covered songs of the 20th century. Penned by Alex North and Hy Zaret in 1955 for the film “Unchained,” it quickly gained wide popularity.

Many agree that the Righteous Brothers’ rendition stands as the definitive version of this song. Released in 1965, it showcased the extraordinary vocal prowess of Bobby Hatfield, complemented by the production skills of Bill Medley. This version soared to unprecedented heights when it was featured in the 1990 film “Ghost,” introducing it to new audiences.

The guitar parts for Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers are largely made up of simple arpeggiated chords. The main riff can be felt in 6/8 with 4 ascending notes followed by 2 descending notes per measure.

22. Can’t Even Breathe by Deftones

Album Escape from LA soundtrack
Tuning C# G# C# F# A# D#
Genre Metal
Tabs View Can’t Even Breathe Tabs Here

Stephen Carpenter is really great at getting the most out of every note, chord, melody, or progression on his guitar. It’s one of many things that make Deftones so special. His riffs, especially in “Can’t Even Breathe,” are often simple but very powerful. And with that classic Cheng-Cunningham rhythm section, this 6/8 jam will take your breath away.

“Can’t Even Breathe” was part of the soundtrack to the 1996 action film, “Escape from LA.” Nowadays, Steph can rarely be seen playing a 6-string guitar. But back in the 90s he wrote for 6 strings, not 7 or 8. You can play along with it in drop C# (like drop D, but everything’s down a half step). Just bring your heavy strings!

23. Toxicity by System of a Down

Album Toxicity
Tuning C G C F A D
Genre Metal
Tabs View Toxicity Tabs Here

As the title track of their second studio album, “Toxicity,” solidified System of a Down’s reputation as fearless, boundary-pushing innovators. Bursting into the nu-metal limelight in 2002, “Toxicity” shattered expectations with its dynamic chorus, aggressive vocals, and unmistakable drum beats. Its composition, boasting a striking 6/8 time signature, showcases the band’s technical prowess and their ability to captivate listeners.

The track almost didn’t make it onto the album, with so many songs vying for a spot in the lineup. It was only when guitarist Daron Malakian reworked and revitalized the song that it truly found its identity and place. The resulting creation included all sorts of rhythmic and dynamic shifts that have come to help define the band’s style.

24. We Have Heaven by Yes

Album Fragile
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View We Have Heaven Tabs Here

A brief but hypnotizing interlude on Yes’s Fragile album, “We Have Heaven,” has a steady 6/8 rhythm after the intro. The whirlwind of Jon Anderson’s interwoven and gradually intensifying vocal tracks help create a totally unique musical experience. The chords are somewhat simple, but the progressions aren’t until everything falls into place by the end.

This often overlooked jam by the prog rock forefathers Yes is a real earworm. The chords mostly include variations on G, like the G6 and G add 2. But the intro modulates the key a few times before arriving back at G.

Apparently, the lyrics consist of at least three different bars mixed in simultaneously at times. They have something to do with a “moon dog” and a “march hare.”

25. Atlas by Battles

Album Mirrored
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Atlas Tabs Here

When you mix the finger-tapping insanity of Don Caballero with the cyclic and bombastic percussion of Helmet, you get Battles. Add in cryptic auto-tuned vocals from Tyondai Braxton, and you get their popular 2007 single, “Atlas.”

The steady 6/8 feel of this song is uncharacteristic of the group, who usually tend toward more odd timing. Also atypical of Battles, guitars are de-emphasized here, as the melodies and harmonies mostly come from either samplers or synthesizers. But the guitar solo is a key moment of the song (especially the album version).

Emanating from the edge of the Uncanny Valley, “Atlas” is a song about technology, humanity, and music itself. And with the rise of AI in the creative arts, music could soon become like a “chorus full of actors.”

26. Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson

Album Breakaway
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Pop
Tabs View Breakaway Tabs Here

Kelly Clarkson’s breakout hit “Breakaway” explores the urge to escape from the confines of the mundane. Originally written by Avril Lavigne, the song found its ideal match in Clarkson’s strong vocals and emotive delivery.

With its folk-pop style and acoustic guitar-driven sound, the song carries a message of hope and resilience. Clarkson’s heartfelt performance adds an authentic touch to the lyrics. She makes it a relatable and inspiring song for anyone embarking on a new chapter in their life.

The song’s inclusion in the movie “The Princess Diaries 2” further increased its popularity. Clarkson’s personal connection to the lyrics adds an extra layer of depth to the song. “Breakaway” stands as a testament to the courage and determination it takes to embrace change.

27. Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates

Album Slaughter of the Soul
Tuning B E A D F# B
Genre Metal
Tabs View Slaughter of the Soul Tabs Here

“Slaughter of the Soul” was an album that illuminated the Gothenburg melodic death metal style for the world. Although it took a while to achieve its cult status, the impact it had over the years has been profound. The title track was among the more memorable moments on a record, with almost all killer and no filler. The song’s inclusion in video game franchises like Tony Hawk’s and Grand Theft Auto says a lot about its popularity.

At the Gates always seemed to have a unique affinity for 6/8 timing and compound meter in general. But this song is 6/8 the whole way through, without any shift in time signature. From the intro (with vocalist Tompa’s signature “Go!”) to the final bar, you can feel the triplets in every subdivision.

28. Drive In Drive Out by Dave Matthews Band

Album Crash
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Drive In Drive Out Tabs Here

When it comes to embracing the ebb and flow of life, few songs capture the sentiment as powerfully as this. “Drive In Drive Out” was a sleeper hit from early in Dave Matthews Band’s career. From its inception as a solo number to the masterpiece it is today, it’s long been a DMB repertoire highlight.

“Drive In Drive Out” is a prime example of the band’s mastery of the 6/8 time signature. With its rhythmic complexity and powerful message, the piece showcases the band’s abundant musical talent and lyrical insight.

The song skillfully blends happiness and sobering realities, creating a bittersweet ache that resonates within. Dave’s intricate guitar work, accompanied by Carter Beauford’s dynamic drumming, elevates “Drive In Drive Out” to profound artistry.

29. Stuart by the Dead Milkmen

Album Beelzebubba
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Stuart Tabs Here

Prepare to be taken into a realm of offbeat storytelling with “Stuart” by The Dead Milkmen. This track takes the form of a meandering conversation between the narrator and an enigmatic character named Stuart. As vocalist Rodney Linderman’s spoken words unfold, a strange narrative emerges, unveiling the unclear line between perception and reality.

Linderman’s masterful storytelling interweaves vivid details. These include a horrific account of his son’s death on a carnival ride, bizarre and paranoid conspiracy theories, and much more.

Beyond its smooth 6/8 rhythm, “Stuart” serves as a reminder of music’s power to defy expectations and ignite introspection. The riffs are easy but catchy, and the chords are familiar but interesting. Play along in standard tuning and see if you can keep up with the rapid lyrics!

30. RV by Faith No More

Album Angel Dust
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View RV Tabs Here

After over 3 decades, “Angel Dust” remains one of the most interesting albums of the 90s. The characters that Mike Patton created in his lyrics are especially interesting. And the narrator of the song “RV” stands out vividly.

The dull cries of an aging man as he sinks into failure haunt this country-rock tragedy in 6/8 time. The guitar plays underneath the vocals and rhythm section, as was common for Faith No More in that era. But Jim Martin’s riffs complement the song’s dramatic pacing as they transition between twangy and heavy.

Even though every Faith No More guitarist was great in their own way, Jim’s style was always unmatched. “RV” is a true reminder of Sick Jim’s versatility as a player.

31. Pink Cigarette by Mr. Bungle

Album California
Tuning Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
Genre Rock
Tabs View Pink Cigarette Tabs Here

Mr. Bungle has always been known for their eclectic approach, with songs that simultaneously envelope multiple different styles of music. But this track, off the 3rd installment of their 90s trilogy of albums, is relatively consistent. “Pink Cigarette” follows a 6/8 time signature in its Lynchian musical atmosphere, putting a Bungle spin on 50s pop.

“Pink Cigarette” includes some pretty dramatic chord progressions that are still simple enough for intermediate players to pick up. The compound meter evokes imagery of slow dancing near a jukebox in some smokey bar or dance hall. And Mike Patton tells a tale of loss — loss of love, then of life itself. Aside from their comedic instincts, Bungle also had the ability to tug at the heartstrings, especially on the “California” album.

32. The Pink Room by David Lynch

Album Fire Walk with Me soundtrack
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Theme music
Tabs View The Pink Room Tabs Here

Although Angelo Badalamenti composed a great deal of David Lynch’s soundtrack work, sources credit this enigmatic track to Lynch himself. Lynch is known to release his own music from time to time. And the style of this piece is very Lynchian.

“The Pink Room” has a constant 6/8 drum groove with what sounds like heavy blues rock guitar improvisation. The timing or key never really changes, and the number sounds a bit like an extended jam session.

“The Pink Room” was featured in the film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.” This movie was a prequel to Lynch’s acclaimed “Twin Peaks” TV series. “Fire Walk with Me” treats “The Pink Room” as diegetic music, meaning it’s music that’s played within the fictional scene.

33. Shine on You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd

Album Wish You Were Here
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Shine on You Crazy Diamond Tabs Here

Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” is a haunting tribute to Syd Barrett, the band’s enigmatic former guitarist. With its mesmerizing opening chords, it beckons you into a sonic tapestry that weaves together nostalgia, melancholy, and raw emotion. Delve into Pink Floyd’s history and discover the bittersweet tale of Barrett’s rise to fame and descent into madness.

Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” showcases Pink Floyd’s mastery of 6/8 timing. David Gilmour’s stirring guitar solos and Richard Wright’s ethereal keyboard harmonies intertwine, creating a sonic landscape that envelops the listener. The song’s structure, divided into nine distinct parts, mirrors the ebb and flow of Barrett’s tumultuous journey. “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” is a testament to the impact of Syd Barrett on rock music.

34. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls

Album Dizzy Up the Girl
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Iris Tabs Here

“Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls goes beyond the realm of a conventional ballad. Written by lead vocalist and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik for the film “City of Angels,” Iris became an instant classic tearjerker. Rzeznik’s thought-provoking lyrics beautifully capture the turbulent struggle faced by Nicolas Cage’s character, torn between love and immortality.

The Goo Goo Dolls, originally known for their punk rock roots, showcased their musical evolution with “Iris.” This song demonstrates the band’s ability to deliver heartfelt ballads that are head and shoulders above the rest. As it unfolds, intricate layers of sound are delicately woven, building up to a cathartic release of emotions. Rzeznik’s poignant vocals paint a vivid sonic landscape. And the song’s 6/8 timing adds a distinctive rhythmic flair.

35. Easter by Marillion

Album Seasons End
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Easter Tabs Here

Like most of Marillion’s greatest songs, “Easter” is composed of different movements, not just song parts. The first ⅔ of the original edit is in 6/8, while the ending is a catchy 5/4 groove. It’s a slow song with interesting elements all around, building up to a famously climactic guitar solo, then the outro.

The main riff is like a series of arpeggiated chords with interspersed melodic ornamentation. The song was a hit single off “Seasons End,” the album that introduced new vocalist Steve Hogarth to Marillion’s audience. Although Fish, the previous vocalist, was loved by fans, “Easter” helped prove the new singer’s uniquely advanced skills and style. Hogarth actually wrote the song prior to joining Marillion, basing it on the poem “Easter, 1916” by W.B. Yeats.

36. Jasco by Sepultura

Album Roots
Tuning D A D G B E
Genre Metal
Tabs View Jasco Tabs Here

“Jasco” is an instrumental guitar piece from the groundbreaking “Roots” album by Sepultura. The album is known for introducing musical elements that were unusual to metal music (a style that Sepultura helped pioneer). “Jasco” is no exception to this, as it showcased a new level of musical experimentation and sophistication to Sepultura fans. It’s like a classical guitar piece with elaborate phrasing against a steady 6/8 groove.

Although guitarist Andreas Kisser is no stranger to acoustic interludes, “Jasco” stands out as solely a guitar piece. There are no accompanying vocals, percussion, or other instruments here. It opens with a strummed variation on D major, played in drop D. The bass notes then alternate between the low and middle D strings, overlaid by complex melodies in the higher register.

37. Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.

Album Automatic for the People
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Everybody Hurts Tabs Here

Among the shining gems in R.E.M.’s illustrious discography, “Everybody Hurts” stands out. It’s a testament to the band’s prowess in crafting impactful compositions in 6/8 time signature. Primarily written by drummer Bill Berry, the track transcends musical boundaries to address the complexities of the human condition. Its lyrics reach out to those lost and hopeless, providing solace and understanding.

Michael Stipe’s deliberate vocal clarity on this track, departing from his usual enigmatic style, emphasizes the band’s commitment to sincerity. The string arrangements by John Paul Jones, the bassist of Led Zeppelin, add a touch of grace to the song. “Everybody Hurts” is a reminder that amid life’s trials, we’re never alone in our pain, and hope always shines through.

38. Over the Falls by Primus

Album The Brown Album
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Over the Falls Tabs Here

“Over the Falls” is a bluegrass-inspired tune off the “Brown Album” by Primus. This record was the first to feature drummer Brian “Brain” Mantia and had a markedly stripped-down sound. The bluesy chord progressions in “Over the Falls” are relatively basic compared with the guitar wizardry in previous Primus releases.

Like all Primus songs, “Over the Falls” tells the listener a story — with a character and a challenge. The protagonist boards some kind of floatation vessel as he waits to be sent down a waterfall. It’s unknown whether or not the song’s content refers to an actual historical event. The lyrics here, much like the music, are relatively minimal. Despite or because of its simplicity, “Over the Falls” is a great Primus track with which to jam along. If you’re looking for songs in 6/8 to play on guitar, definitely give this one a try.

39. War for War by Motörhead

Album Sacrifice
Tuning Db Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
Genre Metal
Tabs View War for War Tabs Here

“War for War” stands out among other Motörhead songs as rhythmically unique. It’s mostly played in compound meter, whereas the band’s other songs tend toward common time or something close to it.

The song was part of their 1995 release, “Sacrifice,” which was a notably heavy album. And “War for War” is one of the heaviest tracks on the release. This album was the last to feature rhythm guitarist Würzel. As such, it features more layered guitars than the band’s output as a 3-piece.

The guitar parts can be played in drop D flat. The song features a mostly, if not completely, 6/8 chorus with sequential barred power chords. There are subtle shifts in the meter, but it never quite changes the underlying groove.

40. Reelin’ in the Years by Steely Dan

Album Can’t Buy a Thrill
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Reelin’ in the Years Tabs Here

Brace yourself for Steely Dan’s enduring classic, “Reelin’ in the Years.” With its infectious 6/8 time signature, its rhythmic pattern creates a soulful sway. Penned by the talented duo of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, the song delves deep into contemplative themes.

Accompanied by polished instrumentation, including an unforgettable guitar solo, “Reelin’ in the Years” exemplifies Steely Dan’s mastery of their craft. Critics have praised the song’s intricate musicianship, fusing elements of jazz, rock, and blues.

The song’s lasting popularity is a testament to the band’s ability to create music that enthralls audiences across generations. There’s “classic rock,” and then there’s Steely Dan. A lot of the former is ultimately disposable, but as the years pass, Dan’s music continually proves to be timeless.

41. Guitar and Video Games by Sunny Day Real Estate

Album How It Feels to Be Something On
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Guitar and Video Games Tabs Here

Sunny Day Real Estate broke up in the mid-90s after making a huge first impression. But they soon reunited to release their 1997 masterpiece, “How It Feels To Be Something On.” There’s rarely been a Sunny Day Real Estate live set not full of songs from this album since its release. “How It Feels To Be Something On” is a collection of memorable songs with very little (if any) downtime. And it’s the kind of stuff that almost anybody can get into — not just 90s emo fans.

“Guitar and Video Games” is in 6/8 and is also one of the most popular songs from the album. The guitar is pretty easy to learn, but good luck hitting those high notes if you’re also singing along.

42. Lizard by Jeremy Enigk

Album Return of the Frog Queen
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Lizard Tabs Here

Amidst the breakup of Sunny Day Real Estate, a couple of members joined Foo Fighters, and another became a farmer. The singer, Jeremy Enigk, released a solo album that received a ton of praise from fans, critics, and his peers.

That album, “Return of the Frog Queen,” differed from Sunny Day in many ways. But it also illuminated some of Enigk’s greatest qualities as a musician and songwriter. “Lizard” is one of the album’s many highlights.

The guitar tabs for the outro to this song are unfortunately not readily available. But it’s an easy part to pick up by ear. The video linked above should also help. It’s a really fun riff to play, and the clever voice leading is more proof of Enigk’s musical brilliance.

43. The Red Shoes by Kate Bush

Album The Red Shoes
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View The Red Shoes Tabs Here

Step into the enchanting realm of Kate Bush’s “The Red Shoes” and prepare to be spellbound. This evocative song, featured on Bush’s seventh studio album of the same name, tells the tale of a dancer. Inspired by a classic film also of the same name, it takes you to a world of magic and mystery. And its 6/8 guitar riff is easy to strum along to!

The accompanying music video, starring acclaimed actress Miranda Richardson, added another layer of mystery and fascination to the song’s charm. The track was included in Bush’s short musical film, “The Line, The Cross, & The Curve,” which garnered critical acclaim. Immerse yourself in the enigmatic world of “The Red Shoes” and let the music carry you to a different realm.

44. The Hollow by A Perfect Circle

Album Mat de Noms
Tuning C# F# B E G# C#
Genre Rock
Tabs View The Hollow Tabs Here

Early on, A Perfect Circle was often written off as a mere Tool side project. But this opening track from their debut LP instantly disproved that. While Maynard James Keenan’s vocals in “The Hollow” are similar to his earlier work, APC’s music follows a new path.

The album version of this song features former Primus drummer Tim Alexander, as well as several other noted musicians. The 6/8 groove is similar to “Judith,” which is another popular track on this album.

The tuning they use here is C sharp or D flat standard. That means it’s basically standard tuning, but everything’s a step and a half down. There’s a catchy and ethereal quality to the main hook of this song that’s nothing short of mesmerizing.

45. Storm by Devin Townsend

Album Accelerated Evolution
Tuning C G C G C E
Genre Metal
Tabs View Storm Tabs Here

Devin Townsend has amassed an impressive body of work over his career. Whether it’s with Strapping Young Lad, Steve Vai’s band, or any of his side projects, the product is always mind-blowing. But his more personal Devin Townsend Band and Devin Townsend Project material is always especially awe-inspiring.

“Storm” is an often overlooked but still appreciated track from DVB’s “Accelerated Evolution” album. It’s played live frequently but not quite as much as Devi standards like “Kingdom” and “Deadhead.”

In characteristic Heavy Devi fashion, he plays this monster jam in open C. It’s kind of an odd tuning choice for metal. But it makes sense, given the style and atmosphere he’s always created. Play along with these tempestuous chord progressions and riffs!

46. Failure by Swans

Album White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity
Tuning D A D G B E
Genre Rock
Tabs View Failure Tabs Here

There’s something uniquely devastating about Swans, especially the stuff they put out in the 80s and 90s. With just a few chords and some very grim lyrics, their song “Failure” does a lot with a little.

It doesn’t take long to figure out what “Failure” is about. One may even decipher it just by reading the song’s title. But it’s amazing how deep of a meditation on the subject the song goes into.

Easily played in drop tuning, the main riff is a back-and-forth power chord progression on acoustic guitar. The chant-like minor third interval gives the song a very bluesy quality, which complements the lyrics well. Additional instrumentation is briefly introduced in the refrain, but the piece is purposefully minimal.

47. Caribbean Blue by Enya

Album Shepherd Moons
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre New Age
Tabs View Caribbean Blue Tabs Here

“Caribbean Blue” may be in more of a waltz than a 6/8, but either is an acceptable meter breakdown. Also, the original version may not feature any prominent guitar parts, but the song lends itself to guitar well. There are some really good classical guitar renditions of this new-age classic, including one linked to above.

Enya came from a family of prominent musicians and her musical upbringing is apparent in her natural talent. “Caribbean Blue” features hauntingly beautiful melodies and a mood-shifting key change. It’s definitely not the easiest song to learn on this list. But being able to learn and play it on guitar must be very gratifying. It’s an easy tune to get swept away with!

48. Resin by In Flames

Album Colony
Tuning C F Bb Eb G C
Genre Metal
Tabs View Resin Tabs Here

In Flames are among the more prominent Swedish melodic death metal bands. The 6/8 time signature is one that they use at times but not frequently. When they do, it’s often at a tempo that sounds almost like a sea shanty. It brings to mind imagery of Vikings sailing valiantly through the cold and unforgiving seas. Although Vikings probably didn’t play sea shanties.

“Resin” is a track off of “Colony,” placing it in good company with a lot of other great tracks. The guitar solo in this song is especially notable, and the cover linked above really nails it. Early In Flames was a milestone for metal, and this song captures the sound and atmosphere of that era.

49. Everywhere You Look by Jesse Frederick

Album Full House soundtrack
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Theme Music
Tabs View Everywhere You Look Tabs Here

Who can forget the iconic theme song from the classic sitcom Full House? From the opening riff to the last verse, this tune ushered us into the hilarious world of the Tanner family. Some might consider this number to be a little sappy, but it features some catchy riffs and interesting chord progressions.

“Everywhere You Look” was written by Jesse Frederick and performed by him as well. It perfectly captures the upbeat and wholesome nature of the show. The song features a catchy 6/8 rhythm that’s fun to strum on the guitar. The chords are simple, and the melody is intriguing. It’s a nostalgic tune that brings back memories of one of the most beloved sitcoms of the 90s.

50. Waltz Across Texas Tonight by Emmylou Harris

Album Wrecking Ball
Tuning E A D G B E
Genre Country
Tabs View Waltz Across Texas Tonight Tabs Here

“Waltz Across Texas Tonight” is a beautiful country song performed by Emmylou Harris. It was featured on her 1995 album “Wrecking Ball.” While the song is a waltz, it’s also easily felt in 6/8 timing. Not to be confused with “Waltz Across Texas” (a different tune), it’s a lovely addition to any country music playlist.

The song has a traditional country sound with heartfelt lyrics and a gentle melody but with moody and atmospheric production. Emmylou Harris’s vocals shine through, conveying the emotions of the song with her distinct style. The guitar provides a lovely foreground to the waltzing rhythm.

You can play along to this track using basic chords in standard tuning. Experiment with fingerpicking patterns once you’ve nailed the chords.

What Is a 6/8 Timing?

You may wonder if 3/4 time signature is the same as 6/8 and vice versa. This is a common confusion among many beginner musicians and it’s easy to see why. After all, they do seem to have the same number of beats in them, isn’t it? Well it’s a bit more than that. 3/4 and 6/8 are similar in that both time signature have 6 beats in them, ie. a total of 6 eighth notes. However, the difference lies in the way these notes are grouped.

While 3/4 time can be subdivided into 3 groups of 2 eighth notes each, whereas in 6/8 times, you have 2 groups of 3 eighth notes. So while you will count a 3/4 time as ‘one-two’ ‘one-two’; one-two’, you will count 6/8 time as ‘one-two-three-’ ‘one-two-three.’ The way we group these notes not only affects the rhythm but also the sound of the piece. Here’s a quick video to explain that!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoy learning and adding these awesome 6/8 time signature guitar songs to your repertoire. If you’re also curious about how to play ¾ guitar songs, check out our detailed guide with 20 awesome songs in 3/4 time. Happy learning!

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