The three-four time signature is frequently used in swing music or dance music. But what was the first rock song to use this time signature?

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    Time signatures predate rock and I'm not sure most music fans would be able to tell what songs have what time signatures. – Dom Mar 25 '15 at 12:29
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    More seriously, we don't know what rock is yet : musicfans.stackexchange.com/questions/495/… :) – user16 Mar 25 '15 at 13:38
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    @Dom Um... yes, I am aware that time signatures predate rock. I'm simply asking what was the first song in a particular genre to use it. – DJ Aftershock Mar 25 '15 at 14:54
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    If I had more rep I would vote to close. The question depends on the definition of "rock", a concept so vague and contentious that you will have severe difficulty finding two people who agree on which songs do and do not qualify. – Donald.McLean Mar 25 '15 at 16:46
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    …but Rock & Roll is not Rock. There was a break between the two. I like the question, actually - made me think. – Tetsujin Mar 26 '15 at 19:36

Might depend on what you consider 'rock' & whether 6/8 would sneak in as 3/4- but how about The Animals, House of the Rising Sun. 1964.

Or Moody Blues - Go Now.

Beatles - You've Got to Hide Your Love Away. 1964.

The trouble with the 60's is rock hadn't quite been invented yet, so the answer might turn out to be Hendrix.

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    6/8 is not 3/4 – Dom Mar 25 '15 at 13:11
  • Accepting this on You've Got To Hide Your Love Away - Beatles. – DJ Aftershock Mar 26 '15 at 9:28
  • @DJAftershock every google image of the score I can find has that one as 6/8... just sayin'! – user16 Mar 28 '15 at 9:09
  • You've Got To Hide Your Love Away does have a strong 'One-and-a-three, Two-and-a' feel, more typical of 6/8 than 3/4 – Robert de Graaf May 12 '16 at 11:36

Three I can think of, in ascending order of both rockiness and release date

Bob Dylan - The times they are a changin' (1964)
The Beatles - Norwegian Wood (1965)
Jimi Hendrix - Manic Depression (1967)

I'm not sure if the first two are really 'rock', and the I can't remember if the last one sticks to its 3/4 guns all the way through.

Screamin Jay Hawkins I put a spell on you (1956) also has a triple-time feel, though online sources disagree on the actual time signature. Again, maybe not really 'rock', though the vocal delivery is rockier than most...

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    Watch out for the 6/8 police ;) … only the Hendrix is really 3/4 to my mind. Hawkins too, but I'm not sure it's rock, probably still 'blues' for want of a better word. Interestingly, all the [better-known] covers go for 6/8 or 12/8 rather than the straight 3/4 – Tetsujin Mar 25 '15 at 16:06
  • @Tetsujin ...ready to beat me with their batons, no doubt :) And yes, you can't necessarily say that something is definitively in a particular time signature unless the original composer scored it that way, though at least some online sources give 3/4 for the three I listed. – user16 Mar 25 '15 at 16:19
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    I can transcribe a song in 4/4 into 3/4. There are aspects that make a song 3/4 vs. 6/8. I really don't think that the OP is after a specific time signature, but a certain feel that is associated with that time signature. – Dom Mar 25 '15 at 19:59

Leonard Cohen's 'One of Us Cannot Be Wrong' is a song with a strong waltz-time feel. It was recorded a few months after 'Manic Depression', so maybe it was pipped at the post, though.

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