Song of the Day #803: ‘The Boys of Summer’ – Don Henley

I have a complicated relationship with Don Henley. It probably stems back to my active dislike of The Eagles, because Henley is the most prominent Eagle of all.

He’s immensely talented, no doubt. It’s hard to argue with the effectiveness of a song such as ‘Desperado,’ even as its sibling ‘Hotel California’ makes me want to pull my hair out. And sometimes his vocals just annoy me, while at other times it seems like he has the perfect rock voice. What is it with this guy?

As a solo artist, it gets even more confusing. I’ve gone back and forth on The End of the Innocence over the years, considering it either a masterwork or a cheese-fest. The title song, ‘The Last Worthless Evening,’ ‘New York Minute’ and ‘The Heart of the Matter’ are superb, no doubt, but ‘Little Tin God’ and ‘Gimme What You Got’ make me cringe.

There is no dispute, however, over ‘The Boys of Summer.’ Henley’s first solo smash remains a freaking masterpiece despite my mixed feelings about the rest of his discography. This is a song to put in a time capsule or shoot into outer space.

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 drivin’ by your house
Though I know you’re not home

I can see you
Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun
You got your hair combed back and your
sunglasses on, baby
And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone

I never will forget those nights
I wonder if it was a dream
Remember how you made me crazy?
Remember how I made you scream?
Now I don’t understand
what’s happened to our love,
But babe I’m gonna get you back
I’m gonna show you what I’m made of

I can see you
Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun
I see you walkin’ real slow and you’re
smilin’ at everyone
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone

Out on the road today
I saw a deadhead sticker on a Cadillac
A little voice inside my head said,
“Don’t look back. You can never look back.”
I thought I knew what love was,
what did I know?
Those days are gone forever
I should just let them go but

I can see you
Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun
You got that top pulled down and that
radio on baby
And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone

I can see you
Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun
You got that hair slicked back and those
wayfarers on, baby
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #803: ‘The Boys of Summer’ – Don Henley

  1. Dana says:

    Well, YouTube pulled down your clip, but I certainly know the song well enough to comment anyway.

    I agree that Henley’s work has not always been my cup of tea, although, for me, it has more to do with his occasional foray into country, both with the Eagles and solo.

    Your dislike of “Hotel California” is, quite frankly, incomprehensible to me as it is probably amongst the greatest rock songs of all time (and is frequently lauded as such by critics). Still, while there may be lesser moments and songs on both Building the Perfect Beast and End of the Innocence, the highlights are better than almost anything else that was done at the time or since. For me, Beast is the stronger album, not only because of this song, but because of the incredible one two punch of “A Month of Sundays” and “Sunset Grill,.” Those songs move and thrill me as much now as the first time I heard them.

    Here’s “A Month of Sundays” for those who may not know it: Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find “Sunset Grill” on YouTube.

    Of the aging artists you have featured this week, Henley, Clapton and Van Morrison seem to be examples of artists where you probably own the best of their work and there may not be a compelling case to be made for seeking out more. The same cannot be said for Hornsby and Jackson Browne, as I think by only only the debut album in Hornsby’s case and the biggest selling album in Browne’s case, you are really missing out on some great stuff that I’m fairly sure you would love. Then again, you cringe at “Hotel California” so who knows?

  2. Tiffini says:

    Boys of Summer: Absolutely epic song.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s