15 Songs for Watching the Solar Eclipse

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15 Songs for Watching the Solar Eclipse

Today—Monday, Aug. 21—the first total solar eclipse since 1979 will completely traverse the U.S. While most inhabitants will see a partial eclipse, only those within the eclipse’s band of totality will witness the moon fully blot out the sun, leaving the sky in complete darkness for around 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

While the eclipse’s totality may be brief, the entire event will last just under three hours from start to finish, so we couldn’t help but provide an astral soundtrack to score your stargazing. Here are 15 songs to accompany this momentous solar eclipse.

15. Pink Floyd, “Eclipse”
Pink Floyd’s trippy “Eclipse” is the perfect celestial song for today’s festivities. The closing track off the band’s landmark Dark Side Of The Moon is spacious and psychedelic, and will surely leave you singing along in real time: “Everything under the sun is in tune / But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”

14. The Walker Brothers, “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”
The exact timing of the eclipse varies upon the spectator’s location, however its entire process will last more than two hours. So while The Walker Brothers serenade your sun watching, remember that “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore…” or at least until 11:41:06 PDT!

13. George Harrison, “Here Comes the Moon”
George Harrison  opened this 1979 ballad by crooning, “Everybody’s talking up a storm.” The eye of that storm is now located in Madras, Orgeon, the western-most eclipse viewing point, and the tiny town of approximately 6,700 inhabitants will be overrun by an expected 100,000 eclipse-related visitors. Here comes the moon, indeed, and the tourists.

12. The Libertines, “Don’t Look Back Into The Sun”
Please heed The Libertines’ advice and “Don’t Look Back Into The Sun.” Or do forward into the sun, but only if you’re wearing those ISO 12312-2-compliant eclipse glasses.

11. AIR, “Kelly Watch The Stars”
French electro-soul duo AIR often used the cosmic as inspiration, especially on their 1998 breakout record Moon Safari. So how could we resist blasting “Kelly Watch The Stars” while watching Earth’s most important star, the sun?

10. Cosmo Sheldrake, “Solar”
What better to score the solar eclipse than the sun itself? British multi-instrumentalist and bricoleur Cosmo Sheldrake sampled sped-up recordings of sun-like stars for his song “Solar.” The samples were originally collected by France’s Corot space telescope using a technique called Stellar Seismology. Sheldrake acquired this sun noise via the BBC, and transformed it into a soothing ode to daylight.

9. David Bowie, “Moonage Daydream”
Let the Starman himself serenade your “Moonage Daydream” today. Just make sure no ray guns get involved.

8. Len, “Steal My Sunshine”
Toronto’s one-hit-wonders Len never quite eclipsed the success of 1999’s “Steal My Sunshine,” but we can’t help but sing it in the lead up to the eclipse, when the moon will steal our sunshine for a little while.

7. My Bloody Valentine, “Kiss The Eclipse”
“Fall in love and kiss the eclipse” sings My Bloody Valentine. You’ll look even cooler wearing your eclipse shades while puckering up.

6. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising”
Considering our nation’s current state of distress, it’d be easy to take the solar eclipse as a bad omen; the whole black sky, moon-shadowing-the sun thing doesn’t exactly have a chipper ring to it. For those of you in fear of the pending astronomical phenomenon, switch on CCR’s spooky classic, “Bad Moon Rising.”

5. The Magnetic Fields, “I Don’t Believe in the Sun”
No one will enjoy the eclipse more than The Magnetic Fields’ frontman Stephin Merritt, who’d rather deny the sun’s existence than let it shine upon other people. “So I don’t believe in the sun,” Merritt moans, “How could it shine down on everyone / And never shine on me.”

4. Bill Withers, “Ain’t No Sunshine”
Bill Withers’s 1971 heartbreak hit is technically about a woman, but it works just as well for an eclipse theme song. “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone / Only darkness every day,” he cries. Fortunately for Withers, the sunshine will only be gone for a couple of minutes today.

3. David Bowie, “Blackstar”
It was hard enough to settle on two Bowie songs to soundtrack Monday’s sun-gazing. (He was a celestial being, after all.) The title track of his final record, however, is an epic soundscape fit for an eclipse. When concealed by the moon, the sun becomes a kind of black star, almost as stellar as Bowie himself.

2. Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun”
We’re guessing more than one car stereo will be blasting Soungarden’s 1994 hit “Black Hole Sun” today. That being said, we hope the eclipse goes down without any swarming locust or apocalyptic hellfire, like the music video for this song suggests.

1. Bonnie Tyler, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”
The woman behind 1983’s goliath hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart” will become one with the cosmos. That’s right, Welsh vocalist Bonnie Tyler will sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” aboard The RoyalCaribbean’s Total Eclipse Cruis, which will follow the eclipse’s band of totality, trailing the moon as it crosses the sun for a once in a lifetime spectacle.

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