Music for moon and sun: Making the perfect eclipse playlist

By Geoffrey Ritter
Special to the Daily Herald
Updated 2/28/2018 9:16 AM

"Howling in shadows, living in a lunar spell," Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of Darkness himself, will scream at the sky Monday at downstate Carterville's Moonstock Music Festival. "He finds his heaven, spewing from the mouth of hell."

Heavy stuff there, but fortunately, Monday's solar eclipse offers an opportunity to dive into countless other classics of a decidedly astronomical bent -- unless, of course, you feel silence will be the best soundtrack. And you might be onto something there.


If your eclipse weekend simply demands a musical interlude, however, you could do worse than the tunes queued up here.

The obvious picks

You're not getting anywhere without Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse," the signature closing beats of the band's landmark 1973 album "The Dark Side of the Moon." They belong at the top of the heap.

And no one ever minded hearing CCR's "Bad Moon Rising" for the umpteenth time. You might already be humming "House of the Rising Sun" in your head. But where would we be without "Total Eclipse of the Heart"? Go in for Bonnie Tyler's classic ballad, or create a fun moment at your eclipse party and download The Dan Band's live cover on iTunes.

The rockers

The untimely passing of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell in May only adds weight to the band's 1994 hit "Black Hole Sun." Also, consider The Doors' "Waiting for the Sun," Weezer's alt-rock "Island in the Sun," or even "Walking on the Moon" by The Police -- but only if paired with Smash Mouth's infectious "Walking on the Sun."

Feeling subversive? Throw on Manfred Mann's Earth Band's "Blinded by the Light" and revel in its possible prescience.

Easy listening

I love The Eagles' "Tequila Sunrise" and Elton John's soaring "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" is a must. But we're not going anywhere without Van Morrison's toe-tapping "Moondance" or Cat Stevens' "Moonshadow." Perhaps best of all is "Ain't No Sunshine," conveyed sadly and soulfully by Bill Withers on 1971's "Just As I Am."

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There's always room for the Fab Four, especially with picks like "Here Comes the Sun" and "Good Day Sunshine" -- and, to a lesser degree, "Across the Universe" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." My favorite pick from left field? "A Hard Day's Night," of course!

The old standards

It's hard to resist a big band. For reference, check out "I'm Beginning to See the Light" by Bobby Darin or Ella Fitzgerald, or even "Moonglow" from Benny Goodman and "Moonlight Serenade" from Glenn Miller's great orchestra. "Fly Me to the Moon" is one of my favorites, especially with a roaring horn section. And take any version of "Me and My Shadow" you wish. I'm going with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

Before we go

We're not forgetting "Da-Doo" from "Little Shop of Horrors," or even "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In." "Space Oddity" is a bit of a stretch, but David Bowie fans must be heard. "Walking on Sunshine" arrives with pure '80s splendor.

I prefer the less obvious picks -- and besides, we haven't heard from the Stones yet. "Paint It Black" gets the nod.

And while we began with the Prince of Darkness, we end with the Man in Black, who sang about love and how it makes a burning ring. With that, we begin our eclipse countdown and fall together down, down, down in a burning "Ring of Fire."

Regardless of what beat moves you, please enjoy the show Monday, along with the natural soundtrack all around you.

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