There are a number of really strong tracks about sunrise and sunset, and they tend to be slower and more introspective, as the rising and setting of the sun can be representative of the beginnings and endings of certain stages and things in life. Or it can just be indicative of a settling of things. Or it can just be something pretty.
After this column, I have one more, on sunlight. I was going to do one on eclipses as well, but only found 6 songs that I liked that really mention eclipses, so I might have to do a little more research and listening there.
Anyway, normal rules apply – one song per artist, one version of each song, I need to like the song, and sunrise or sunset (or a variation thereof) is in the title.
Sunrise and sunset!
'The House Of The Rising Sun' by The Animals (1964)
Let's start the list with a classic rock track, an old song given a makeover by The Animals into a modern blues track that just pulses with power and intensity.
'Waterloo Sunset' by The Kinks (1967)
A tale of two lovers meeting at the titular railway station in London at sunset, this song is a glorious piece of the middle phase of the Kinks' career (rock, Englishness, 'Lola' on) and stands as one of the band's best.
'Acapulco Sunrise' by Santana (1969)
This was a tough one to get a handle on when it was released; I have it on a live album and a greatest hits album. But, no matter what, it is a glorious instrumental that just soars with that amazing guitar playing.
'Sunrise In The Morning' by Frank Sinatra (1971)
Some latter era Sinatra, and a fine tune. Some people seem to put this phase of his career down as him recording whatever was put in front of him, but to hear him sing like this showed he still had it.
'Laguna Sunrise' by Black Sabbath (1972)
And we go into another instrumental, and a song that sounds so unlike Black Sabbath it makes many people think there must be a mistake. This is such a relaxed and chilled piece of music, and it does evoke a wonderful sunrise.
'Tequila Sunrise' by The Eagles (1973)
Very laid-back, country-rock at its finest, the Eagles this early in their career really knew how to do a slower song and make it sound just beautiful.
'Two Suns In The Sunset' by Pink Floyd (1983)
Depressing song from The Final Cut, an album I am rather ambivalent about, about an inevitable nuclear holocaust, but the Pink Floyd sound is still there and it is a decent track from this collection.
'Wasted Sunsets' by Deep Purple (1984)
I've really liked the later Deep Purple albums, and the early Purple stuff has gone down as classic rock for a reason, but many overlook the middle years. Tracks like this one show that they maintained quality; I mean, listen to that guitar solo.
'Sunsets' by Powderfinger (2003)
Powderfinger is a band I've seen live at least twice, and this track is a great rocking song. The single also had an acoustic version of this track, which is well worth tracking down as well.
'(Reach Up For The) Sunrise' by Duran Duran (2004)
I have to say, I don't mind some of the Duran Duran stuff from their later years. This song is one I have on CD single (with like 4 different versions of it), so, yes, I do like it.
'Sunrise' by Norah Jones (2004)
Some modern jazz from one of the finest exponents of it, Jones' voice is so smooth and this song is so beautiful, you just want to close your eyes and enjoy it completely.
'Sunset' by Mike Oldfield (2005)
From Light & Shade, this track is one of the many fine instrumentals (yes, it has some voices, but…) from that collection. Oldfield has maintained his guitar chops throughout his career, and this shows that, plus his way of writing a tune that can hit you.
'Ashtray Sunrise' by Sarah McLeod (2005)
Another good rocker from one of Australia's finest female rock singers. That fuzztone guitar really does help make the song as well.
'Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset' by Luke Bryan (2017)
Modern-day country, this track is one that tells a story about a guy who falls for the daughter of the man he is painting for. It is a decent example of the genre, and I think the story was what made it stick with me.
'On Sunset' by Paul Weller (2020)
And we finish with the title track from an awesome album, a relaxed, chilled song that I have really liked since the first time I listened to the CD. It is evocative of sunsets and things winding down and it is just so glorious.
Okay, I'm not sure what happened in the 1990s where sunrises and sunsets were suddenly no longer being utilised as metaphors or whatever, but the 60s to the 2020s are all here otherwise, spread over 15 tracks. A lot of interesting songs across many styles, so I hope you found something here you liked.