Friday, March 27, 2015

the galloping song

who invented the galloping rock song?

(wish YouTube had the proper recorded version of "Crazy Train", with the great intro and cleaner choppy gallop riff from Randy Rhoads, but this live one will have to do)

Stop press/addendum:

Some good suggestions in the comments boxes

Also Andrew Parker offers these thoughts:

Rhythms imitating footsteps/hoofsteps have been around for centuries, dating back to folk songs and sarabands, and probably much earlier. Any song intended to accompany dancing or convey a sense of travelling will be set to such a rhythm. The most obvious precursor for hard rock is the blues shuffle, which Led Zeppelin et al. simply sped up.

If a horse was slipped a bit of mogadon, it's cantor might resemble the precarious gait of Sister's of Mercy's Marian. There must be all sorts of songs that use the rhythm, which I'll probably notice over the next few months thanks to your post. ;-)

Also of interest is the Wikipedia entry on galloping rhythm:

This rhythmic figure may be used on palm muted power chords providing accompanimental rhythmic ostinati on the rhythm guitar (Image removed by sender. About this sound Play example (help·info)[1]),[2][3] and may be heard in the introduction to Deep Purple's "Highway Star",[4] as well as their "Hard Lovin' Man" and Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave" and "Air Dance".[5] Also Metallica's "Motorbreath" and, more famously, "The Four Horsemen".[6] The pattern has also been used by group such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Slayer and Black Sabbath.[1] Variations include triplet gallop rhythms (Image removed by sender. About this sound

This pattern has also been used in many non-metal songs. A classic example is the Scott Walker single "Jacky" released in 1967.


  1. Not forgetting Slade's Run, Run Away of course:

    But this is a great question. I've always noticed the galloping beat and wondered myself where it came from. Even the Osmonds got in on the act:

    (or is that less of a galloping beat than a - what's that word again? - oh yeah, theft - of THE IMMIGRANT SONG's riff).

  2. To be a history nerd about it, it has always worried me that Immigrant Song sounds like a cavalry charge in that way, because of course the Vikings fought on foot. If the song had been about the Huns or the Mongols, it would have fit much better.

    But then I guess trains don't gallop either. Maybe crazy ones....

  3. Hilarious. Luvvit. Says this history nerd.

  4. That Osmonds song is really rockin'. Which wasn't too much of a surprise, given the incredible excitement levels generated by "Crazy Horses" - which, despite the promise of the title, doesn't have a galloping rhythm, closer to "Whole Lotta Love".

  5. Also, Andrew Parker has some thoughts in a stop press addendum i've stuck at the bottom of the post

  6. Also not forgetting from the Rip it Up side of the street - and given it's prominent place at sporting events, how could we? - Papa's Got a Brand New Pigbag.

  7. Some marginal calls: Call Me? Two Tribes?

    And this must surely be the best known - and perhaps the best - use ever:

  8. How about Johnny Remember Me (John Leyton/Joe Meek)?