The Boys of Summer is one of those songs I thought was “weird” or at best “okay” when it came out when I was 12 years old in 1984. I didn’t really understand what the heck he was singing about, and the sound of the song had a weird tension to it that made me uncomfortable. Plus it had one of those overly artsy black and white music videos!
These days I love the song. Now I know exactly what he’s talking about. I feel like I’ve lived this song myself. I love the black and white video because it’s overlay artsy. And the the weird little drummer boy is perfect. Now I really appreciate the weird tension in the song. It makes the song unique and edgy. And even with the musical tension, Don Henley sings in such a cool, nonchalant way.
The other tension is lyrical, between sadness and hope. The words paint a picture of a lonely beach town at the end of summer, a beautiful woman, and a broken heart. The lyrics stand pretty well on their own.
Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach.
Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I’m driving by your house
Though I know you’re not home.
But I can see youThe Boys of Summer by Don Henley
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby.
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone.
This song features one of the most beautiful outtros I’ve ever heard. The melodic, almost twangy guitar layered over a warm rhythm guitar counters the fierce electronic drums as the song fades out. Love it (these days).