Goodbye sunshine: The ülkü soundtrack to your total solar eclipse

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The full solar eclipse hits Mexico, the US and Canada today, while Europe will have to wait until August 2026 when it crosses the northern parts of Greenland, Iceland and Spain.

And we think you’ll agree that everybody needs something to listen to during a cosmic adventure…

Here are our handpicked, genre-spanning, eclipse and eclipse-adjacent songs to accompany you through the sunlight block – in chronological listening order too. 

Don’t say we don’t treat you.

‘Steal My Sunshine’ – Len

Singled out, this 90s hit by one-hit-wonder Canadian alt-rock band Len is arguably the least essential track on this list. But when it comes to eclipses, it’s essential. The song was initially released on the soundtrack to the 1999 crime comedy film Go, and became an instant summer hit. Not hard to hear why, as it’s a sun-kissed tune about not plunging anyone into depression by stealing their happiness. Yes, it sounds like an outdated 90s throwback; sure, it’s twee; and granted, it should only be played at pool parties. But you try to not bop along to the sugary-sweet chorus the brother-sister duo Marc and Sharon Costanzo have unleashed on your ears. This should open your eclipse playlist before the great concealing, before things get a bit more ominous… DM

‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ – Bill Withers

I know, I know, I know, I know that Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ is the perfect addition to any total solar eclipse playlist. Inspired by the 1962 film Days of Wine and Roses, Withers penned the soulful masterpiece while working at a toilet seat factory, aged 31. When the song went gold, the record company awarded the singer with a golden toilet seat, marking the start of his new career. The song has since been covered by the likes of Paul McCartney, Tom Jones and Prince, but we can all agree that Wither’s rendition remains unmatched. TF

‘On the Nature of Daylight’ – Max Richter

The second track on Richter’s 2004 album ‘The Blue Notebooks’ – our top pick for the Best European Albums of the 21st Century – that acted as the neo-classical composer’s impassioned response to the horrors of the Iraq War, ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ has gained a legacy far beyond its obscure beginnings. For a new entry into the classical canon, it has been used in countless film and TV shows, from Shutter Island to Jiro Dreams of Sushi and ‘The Last of Us’. There’s good reason for it. Over six-minutes, strings soar continuously upwards, ascending towards the skies without reprieve. Play this during the eclipse and you’ll feel that same hopeful catharsis Richter found in daylight. JW

‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ – Bonnie Tyler

Let’s get a little less dour, shall we? As you “turn around” to look at the sun being obscured by the moon, there’s nothing more appropriate to listen to than Bonnie’s plundering 1983 ballad ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. It was written by the late Jim Steinman, a composer with a flair for the theatrical (his other hits include Meat Loaf’s ‘I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ and Celine Dion’s ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’). Whether or not the solar event mirrors your own internal torment, we can surely all agree that belting “forever’s gonna start tonight” will add a sense of cinematic drama to the event. AB

‘Black Hole Sun’ – Soundgarden

From a stellar 80s power ballad to a 90s grunge anthem, don’t say we don’t treat you to a decade-hopping good time during your eclipse. Widely recognised as Soundgarden’s signature track, this was arguably the late (and much-missed) Chris Cornell’s shining moment of glory (if you don’t count his often undervalued work in the supergroup Audioslave – but that’s a story for another time). It came out mid-1994, when the world was still under the shock of Kurt Cobain’s death, and it’s the ideal dark anthem to listen to while you’re luxuriating in darkness, appreciating the contradictory beauty of both the eclipse and this song title. Turning 30 this year, this enigmatic track about concealed darkness in humanity – and how our sun is too small to become a black hole – deserves a bleak spot on your tracklist. DM

‘Eclipse’ – Pink Floyd

As the sunlight is obscured, the eclipse will illuminate something usually untouched by its rays: the dark side of the moon. What better song to celebrate this celestial circumstance than the closing song to Pink Floyd’s legendary musical celebration of life and death? It should always be paired with penultimate song ‘Brain Damage’, but even on its own ‘Eclipse’ is a masterstroke of Floyd’s typical stylings: compound time signatures, dissonant arpeggios and gospel singing to tie it all together. “And everything under the sun is in tune; But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.” Has there ever been a better album closing statement? JW

‘Dancing in the Dark’ – Bruce Springsteen

A total solar eclipse doesn’t last very long – roughly one to four and a half minutes, according to NASA. That’s still just about enough time to do a burst of “Dancing in the Dark” to Bruce Springsteen’s classic 1984 tune. A song about the pressures of fame and trying to force creativity, Springsteen told the BBC: “All I could do was write another song about not wanting to write another song”. In the years since, it’s become a beloved anthem that always starts a fire in your belly. And how often is it that you actually get to dance in true darkness?! AB

‘Here Comes the Sun’ – The Beatles

As the moon begins to move away and the sun reemerges, what better way to celebrate the return of the light than with The Beatles’ timeless classic ‘Here Comes the Sun’? Written by George Harrison in early 1969 from the country house of Eric Clapton, the heartwarming song reflects the temporary respite he was experiencing from the band’s Apple Corps business affairs. As one of the standouts from the Fab Four’s legendary ‘Abbey Road’ album, the song earned Harrison his songwriting flowers, previously reserved for Lennon and McCartney. It’s the perfect way to end your eclipse. TF

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