It is the lead track and first single from Henley's 1984 album Building the Perfect Beast and reached the top five in the United States as well as the top position on the Top Rock Tracks chart and number 12 in the UK Singles Chart. It re-charted at number 93 in August 2013.
The song's music video won many awards. "The Boys of Summer" was also performed live by Henley with the reunited Eagles; such a version is included on the group's 2005 Farewell 1 Tour-Live from Melbourne DVD.
- 2 Accolades
- 3 Music video
- 4 Chart performance
- 5 Codeseven version
- 6 DJ Sammy version
- 7 The Ataris version
- 8 Other versions
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Henley's song is cemented by Campbell's 1-7-5 repetitive riff over a vi-IV-V-IV chord pattern. Superficially, the song appears to be about the passing of youth and entering middle age, with the theme of 'summer love' apparent in the choruses, and of reminiscence of a past relationship.
In a 1987 interview with Rolling Stone, Henley explained that the song is more about aging and questioning the past—a recurring theme in Henley's lyrics (cf. "The End of the Innocence",and "Taking You Home".)
"I was driving down the San Diego freeway and got passed by a $21,000 Cadillac Seville, the status symbol of the Right-wing upper-middle-class American bourgeoisie – all the guys with the blue blazers with the crests and the grey pants – and there was this Grateful Dead 'Deadhead' bumper sticker on it!"
In an interview with Knoxville.com, Neil Giraldo, Pat Benatar's guitarist and husband, says that Henley came in the studio while he was in the process of recording the song "Love Is a Battlefield" using an up tempo beat, and asked Giraldo if he could steal the sound for use in his song, "The Boys of Summer", to which Giraldo gave his permission.
"The Boys of Summer" reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart for five weeks. It was also a hit in the United Kingdom, reaching number 12 on the UK Singles Chart. A re-release of the single in 1998 also reached #12.
The music video to "The Boys of Summer" is a French New Wave-influenced piece directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Shot in black-and-white, it shows the main character of the song at three different stages of life (as a young boy, a young adult and middle-aged), in each case reminiscing about the past relationship. This is shown during the line "A little voice inside my head said don't look back, you can never look back" at which point, each of the three people look back in turn. The young boy in the video, played by seven year old Josh Paul, resembles a young Don Henley. The girl in the music video is played by Audie England. The cutaways of the "boys" jumping in the air appear to have been influenced by the 1938 film Olympia. Interspersed with these scenes are segments of Henley miming the words of the song while driving in a convertible. At its conclusion, the video uses the post-modern concept of exposing its own workings, as with a wry expression Henley drives the car away from a rear projection screen.
The video won the Video of the Year at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards (leading Henley to comment at the Awards the following year that he had won for "riding around in the back of a pickup"). It also won that year's awards forBest Direction, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography. The Best Direction award was presented to Mondino by Henley's then-former Eagles bandmate Glenn Frey.
|Germany (Media Control Charts)||18|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||26|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||18|
|United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)||12|
|US Billboard Hot 100||5|
|US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||1|
|UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)||12|
|Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)||16|
Codeseven's album A Sense of Coalition (1998) gained popularity on college radio stations for a cover of "The Boys of Summer" (not to be confused with The Ataris' cover of the same song that became a mainstream radio hit years later).
|"The Boys of Summer"|
|Single by DJ Sammy featuring Loona and Mel|
|from the album Heaven|
|Released||November 18, 2002|
|Label||Robbins/Ministry of Sound/Data|
|Writer(s)||Don Henley, Mike Campbell|
|DJ Sammy featuring Loona and Mel singles chronology|
DJ Sammy (with vocals performed by Loona and Mel) covered the song in 2002. It was released in November 2002 as the third and last single released from the album Heaven. Despite not receiving the same critical acclaim as Henley's version, this cover peaked at number 2 in the United Kingdom - ten spots higher than the original in that country. It was certificated Platinum byRIANZ.
- Soulside Mix
- Green Court Remix
- Original Version
- Humate Remix
- Martin Eyerer Remix
- Original Radio Mix
- Original Extended Version
- Single Version
- Klubbheads Remix
- Jessy Remix
- BCD Project Remix
There were two music videos for the single. The official one features DJ Sammy driving a classic Mercedes-Benz 190SL along winding roads on cliffs beside a seashore and Loona singing the lyrics while there are scenes of young people enjoying themselves at a beach. Sammy arrives in the evening at a dance party on the beach and meets a female acquaintance at the end of the video.
The alternate version features DJ Sammy driving a Mercedes-Benz CLK around Barcelona and is accompanied by a seemingly boisterous young man. Two girls are shown riding on a scooterfollowing them. The video ends when Sammy gets fed up with his opinionated passenger, stops his car, gets out and walks around it, pulls his companion and kicks him. Meanwhile, the two girls who were playing miniature golf nearby get in and drive away in the unattended car with DJ Sammy watching them drive off.
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||49|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||20|
|New Zealand (RIANZ)||3|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||19|
|United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company)||2|
|US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales||5|
|"The Boys of Summer"|
|Single by The Ataris|
|from the album So Long, Astoria|
|Released||September 29, 2003|
|Writer(s)||Don Henley, Mike Campbell|
|The Ataris singles chronology|
In 2003, the rock band The Ataris covered "The Boys of Summer" for their album So Long, Astoria. The song became their second single when a radio station began to play it. The Ataris' version of the song replaced the 'Deadhead sticker' reference with one more appropriate to the age group of their fans, namely a 'Black Flag sticker', in honor of the '80s punk band. The single peaked at #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart (held off the #1 top spot by Linkin Park's Faint) and #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. It remains their most successful single to date.
|Australian Singles Chart||24|
|German Singles Chart||45|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||17|
|Swiss Singles Chart||87|
|UK Singles Chart||49|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||20|
|U.S. BillboardHot Mainstream Rock Tracks||36|
|U.S. BillboardHot Modern Rock Tracks||2|
|U.S. BillboardHot Adult Top 40 Tracks||18|
|U.S. BillboardTop 40 Mainstream||10|
- In 1985, Detroit radio station WRIF's "JJ & The Morning Crew" (Jim Johnson & George Baier) released a parody version called "After the Brewery on Gratiot is Gone," when the Stroh Brewery Company demolished its original Detroit brewery.
- In 2000, a rare acoustic version of the song was performed by Don Henley on an episode of the TV Series VH1 Storytellers.
- In 2006 the Norwegian quartet of Espen Lind, Kurt Nilsen, Alejandro Fuentes and Askil Holm released a cover of the song which became a hit in Norway, reaching #12 on VG-lista.
- In 2006, Chicago-area band 7th Heaven performed a version which sounds similar to the Ataris' version, although with a slightly faster beat.
- On September 1, 2006, an acoustic version of this song was performed by the Custom Kings on the Like a Version segment of the Mel in the Morning program on the Australian radio station Triple J.
- Other artists to record covers include Night Ranger, Show of Hands, 3JS, A Balladeer, Bree Sharp, Sara Johnston, KT Tunstall and The Hooters.