People all across the country are taking the time out of their day to witness the first eclipse viewable from the continental United States since February 1979. According to NASA, viewers around the globe will be able to view the eclipse from 11 spacecraft, at least three of NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, who will each offer a unique vantage point of the celestial event.
Another solar eclipse will not be viewable in the United States until April 2024, so to celebrate Salute put together our top 10 songs for today’s big spectacle.
1) Bonnie Tyler – “Total Eclipse of the Heart”
If we’re going to do an “eclipse”-themed playlist, we’re almost obligated to include Bonnie Tyler‘s 1983 hit single, “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” which was written by Jim Steinman, the man behind Meatloaf‘s 1977 rock classic, Bat Out of Hell and its sequel Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell.
2) Common – “The Light”
The classic J Dilla produced-track from Common‘s 1994 album, Like Water for Chocolate, mixes samples of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury’s legendary falsetto with the Chicago rapper’s laid back lyrics to create a hip-hop classic that is perfect for the eclipse… or really anything.
3) John Parish & P.J. Harvey – “City of No Sun”
When darkness falls in the middle of the day, noise rock could be the perfect escape when you feel like you’re living in the “City of No Sun.” The song, which is not really for everyone, is extremely fitting for today’s events. It was written by alt-rock guitarist John Parish and English singer-songwriter P.J. Harvey, for their 1996 collaboration album, Dance Hall at Louse Point.
4) Cat Stevens – “Moonshadow”
While the Cat Stevens classic is not exactly a song about a “solar eclipse,” it is scientifically accurate. A total solar eclipse occurs when the “moon” passes between the sun and earth, casting a “shadow” which blocks out the sun.
5) Easy Star All-Stars – “Eclipse”
Sure. We could have gone with the classic Pink Floyd version, but the reggae-dub interpretation of the Dark Side of the Moon is just so perfect for this mid-day spectacle. New York based reggae collective Easy Star All-Stars have also recorded cover albums of Radiohead‘s O.K. Computer and The Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
6) Yes – “And You And I (I. Cord of Life, II. Eclipse, III. The Preacher, The Teacher, IV. Apocalypse)”
If you’re looking for that psychedelic, cosmic sound… then look no further. Short of filling the playlist with our favorite Grateful Dead jams, 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Yes, always knew how to get things “spaced out.” From their 1972 album, Fragile, the 10-minute-long, four-part track is a progressive rock classic.
7) TV on the Radio – “Staring at the Sun”
What is the one thing you do not want to do during a solar eclipse? While TV on the Radio did not exactly write the track as a PSA, “Staring at the Sun” was the 2004 debut single from the art rock project and serves as a good reminder not to look directly into the sun during the eclipse.
8) The Alan Parsons Project – “Total Eclipse”
One of the more popularly sampled progressive rock artists in music history, The Alan Parsons Project, included this instrumental track from Welsh composer Andrew Powell on their 1977 album, I, Robot, a sci-fi classic inspired by Issac Asimov’s Robot book series.
9) Nosaj Thing feat. Kazu Makino – “Eclipse/Blue”
Korean-American producer Jason Chung, a.k.a. Nosaj Thing has worked with such big-name artists as Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, and Chance the Rapper. Back in 2013, he teamed up with Kazu Makino of the indie-rock group, Blonde Redhead, on this track for The Creator’s Project.
10) Sun Ra and His Arkestra – “When Sun Comes Out”
Free-form jazz legend Sun Ra and his Arkestra wrap up the “eclipse”-themed playlist with this frantically abstract melody that leaves you a little disoriented… kind of like when the sun just vanishes in the middle of the day.
There are much more than just 10 “eclipse”-theme songs out there. If you have any that you think we should add, leave a recommendation in the comments below.