The Story Behind “The Boys Of Summer”

The 4th of July means Summer has really started, and all the stuff that comes with it.

Like this song.
[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6DCJtw-qyc]

This song made me buy my first pair of Wayfarers and always reminds me of the girl that got away.

It’s nostagia personified.

Don Henley remembers:

When we did “Boys of Summer,” we recorded the whole song in whatever key it was written in, and I did it, and I said, “This is not quite right. ” And it was finished we’d done the whole thing and the album was late-and I said, “We’ve got to raise this up half a step.” And they all looked at me like, “You’re nuts! What’s the matter with you?” And I said, “No, believe me, it’ll be a lot better.” So we did it all over again, and they went, “Geez, you’re right!”

“Boys of Summer” was one of those great, rare moments where I got so inspired by the track that Mike Campbell had given me that it just sort of wrote itself. It came just screamin’ out of me. And I was jumping up and down in the car ’cause I knew I had something there. I said, “This is good and I know it’s good, it’s great.” I like writing that way sometimes

“Beyond that, I’m also not convinced we really accomplished that much. Kennedy was president and everybody thought it was Camelot, but look at what we did. We raised all that hell ins the sixties, and then what di we come up with in the Seventies? Nixon and Reagan. The country reverted right back into the hands it was in before. I don’t think we changed a damn thing, frankly. That’s what the last verse of “The Boys of Summer” was about. I think our intentions were good, but te way we went about it was ridiculous. We thought we could change things by protesting and making firebombs and growing our hair long and wearing funny clothes. But we didn’t follow through. After all our marching and shouting and scraming didn’t work, we withdrew and became yuppies and got into the Me Decade.”

The song was memorably redone by the Ataris.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZqhg0yQsE4]

Explore posts in the same categories: Ataris, Don Henley, music, summer, The Boys Of Summer, video, YouTube

54 Comments on “The Story Behind “The Boys Of Summer””

  1. Mark Says:

    Don Henley is probably one of the most underappreciated artists of our time. I’ve been looking for a way to incorporate one of his songs in a post, but you beat me to it.

    Oh well, at least I got you on the Scorpions and the start of hurricane season.

  2. Lee Says:

    ataris rock.

  3. range Says:

    I like Dirty Laundry… The movie To Die For with Nicole Kidman by Gus Van Sant which featured it is good too.

  4. Matt Says:

    Always loved this song – the Ataris version was the first song I played in my new car.. and it’s the second song on my normal cycling mix.. second because you gotta get warmed up first – then use them one to crank the hill😉

    matty

  5. Matt Says:

    Live version here on youtube:

    Matt

  6. Brian Says:

    The Ataris pulled off one of the best cover songs ever. Right up there with the Foo Fighter’s version of “Baker Street.”


  7. Oh, come on, people…”The Boys of Summer” is a brilliant song, but the Ataris cover was simply derivative and imitative. What new element did they bring to the song? What contribution did they make? By changing the “Deadhead sticker” to “Black Flag sticker,” did they break some new and meaningful ground?

    I’m not saying you can’t enjoy the cover, but there are just plain covers and then there are masterful covers that bring some completely new feeling/idea/interpretation to the song (Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt,” for example, or Tori Amos’ cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). The Ataris version of “The Boys of Summer” isn’t anything beyond a plain, vanilla, look-we-know-the-chords-too cover.

    Genie
    The Inadvertent Gardener

  8. Brian Says:

    That’s just wrong. The intensity that the Ataris added to a rather laid back, melancholy song was a great re-interpretation. If you would have told me before I heard the cover that someone wanted to crank up and thrash out on the Boys of Summer, I would have laughed and said it was a dumb idea.

    The fact that it came out as well as it did is why it’s a great cover song — someone saw something in the song that others didn’t.

    Same is true of Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt,” but that’s mainly due to Johnny’s personal life story.

    Tori Amos? Pitch that noise somewhere else.🙂


  9. Ataris – big deal. I hear nothing special.

  10. Kristine Says:

    Tid bit? Boys of Summer… Wayfarers, the original lyricist had to call a local DJ to get a different name for sunglasses. Life is odd, huh? If you listen carefully, that guitar riff says “Life Seems/So Unfair” and as such a new song begins to beat. “ask me now/twenty three years later…if I care…yes…life seems so …unfair…unfair…”. Go figure.

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  12. Haley Says:

    BOYS OF THE SUMMER IS FAVIROTE SONG IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND DONALD HUGH HENLEY IS MY FAVIORTE PERSON IN THE WORLD! HE IS THE HOTTEST,MOST BEAUIFUL VOCIE,SWEETEST,COOLEST,GREATSET,NICEST,SMARTEST,HANDSOME,GOOD-LOOKING,AND ON AND ON!!!!!!!THERE IS ONLY ONE THING THAT HATE THAT HE DID AND IS………MARRY SHARON HENLEY. DON HENLEY CAN GET ANYONE HE WANTS AND HE CHOOSES HER. SHE IS USEING YOU 4 THE MONEY.YOU CANT LOVE HER CAUSE YOU JUST CANT. YOU ARE WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 2 GOOD 4 HER OR ANYBODY I LOVE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

  13. Haley Says:

    BOYS OF THE SUMMER IS FAVIROTE SONG IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND DONALD HUGH HENLEY IS MY FAVIORTE PERSON IN THE WORLD! HE IS THE HOTTEST,MOST BEAUIFUL VOCIE,SWEETEST,COOLEST,GREATSET,NICEST,SMARTEST,HANDSOME,GOOD-LOOKING,AND ON AND ON!!!!!!!THERE IS ONLY ONE THING THAT HATE THAT HE DID AND IS………MARRY SHARON HENLEY. DON HENLEY CAN GET ANYONE HE WANTS AND HE CHOOSES HER. SHE IS USEING YOU 4 THE MONEY.YOU CANT LOVE HER CAUSE YOU JUST CANT. YOU ARE WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 2 GOOD 4 HER OR ANYBODY I LOVE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LUZ YOUR HALEY

  14. Haley Says:

    DONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN IS SO HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

  15. Brittney and Haley Craig Says:

    hey the Eagles Rock Im haley sister. BUTTERCUP@aol.com is not are real e mail adderss. she goes overboard. were Triplets, are other sister is courtney. Sorry about all the shaorn stuff, im happy for him.I LOVE GLENN FREY HE IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOT .I LOVE U

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  18. Haley Craig Says:

    HI DONNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
    I STILL LOVE YOU A WHOLE BUNCHS
    TELL THAT LOSER WIFE I SAID HI
    LUZ YA SO MUCH
    HALEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Haley Says:

    HI DONNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
    I STILL LOVE YOU A WHOLE BUNCHS
    TELL THAT LOSER WIFE I SAID HI
    LUZ YA SO MUCH
    HALEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Haley Says:

    i love donnnnnnnn

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  22. Haley Says:

    i still love
    donnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

  23. Haley Says:

    im a triplet
    i cant belive i have a website
    thanks!

  24. Haley Says:

    PLEASE WRITE BACK 2 ME . I WILL DO ANYTHING 2 MEET DON HENLEY.ANYTHING!

  25. Haley Says:

    PLEASE WRITE BACK !

    i love don henley

  26. chartreuse Says:

    um, calm down…it’ll be o.k…

  27. Haley Says:

    the owners of thiis site r so kool

  28. Haley Says:

    Who is chartreuse ?

  29. Haley Says:

    I LOVE THE BEATLES!

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    I LOVE DON
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    CAN YOU GUESS WHO IT IS?

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  36. HALEy Craig Says:

    this haley and joe saying i love don henley

  37. joe Says:

    haley craig is weird

  38. joe Says:

    haley craig is really obsesed with don helney

  39. courtney Craig Says:

    courtney says that sharons a a piece of shit aod that don henley is the hottest, coolest, most talanted arstist in the world and that hes going to be my brother inlaw cause my sister haley is going to marry don henley and that sharon and don r going 2 spilt up. And Dons going to get the house and kids and sharons going to be left with nothing. And don henley needs 2 play at the woodlands pravlion in the woodlands, texas. I LOVE U JOE WaLSH (and don) but joe w. more
    love the triplets(courtneyy)

  40. courtney Craig Says:

    courtney says that sharons a a piece of shit aod that don henley is the hottest, coolest, most talanted arstist in the world and that hes going to be my brother inlaw cause my sister haley is going to marry don henley and that sharon and don r going 2 spilt up. And Dons going to get the house and kids and sharons going to be left with nothing. And don henley needs 2 play at the woodlands pravlion in the woodlands, texas. I LOVE U JOE WaLSH (and don) but joe w. more
    love the triplets(courtney)


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  42. haley Craig Says:

    Sorry 4 being a pain! Im not going 2 write anymore! Im sorry sharon, your the luckiest person in the world! SORRY DON FOR WRECKING SHARON! I TRULY AM! IM SUPER SORRY. I know you are not going 2 read this don but, I still want you and sharon to know IM really sorry. I LOVE YOU DON FOREVER
    PS> MY 2ND FAV. SONG IS LEATHER AND LACE

    LOVE HALEY AND (brittney and courtney)
    BAND NAME: TRIPEES (triplets)


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  50. Terry Says:

    With its black and white format and awesome guitar work, Don Henley’s Boys of Summer is arguably the best all-around music video of all time! The lyrics are open to interpretation, be you a romantic with a love lost or a baseball fan reeling for the return of summer. Henley’s iconic voice mixes perfectly with the music to elicit the feelings of love and nostalgia. You won’t be disappointed by this video and you ll find yourself watching it over and over again, as I ve been doing since it’s release in 1985.

  51. TRIPLETS (HALEY BRITTNEY COURTNEY CRAIG) Says:

    DON HENLEY!! WE LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH!
    WE SAW THE EAGLES IN CONCERT IN HOUSTON TEXAS 2010!
    GLENN AND JOE LOOKED AT US. WE WERE PRETTY CLOSE TO THE STAGE.
    WE WROTE ON HERE 4 YEARS AGO
    WHEN WE WERE 14. NOW WERE 18! WE WILL NEVER STOP LOVING YOU!!
    WE ARE YOUR BIGGESTTTT FANNNSSSS!!
    ONE DAY WE WILL MEET❤

    US AND OUR MOTHER LOVE YOUUUUUUU!!!!

  52. TRIPLETS (HALEY BRITTNEY COURTNEY CRAIG) Says:

    DON HENLEY!! WE LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH!
    WE SAW THE EAGLES IN CONCERT IN HOUSTON TEXAS 2010!
    GLENN AND JOE LOOKED AT US. WE WERE PRETTY CLOSE TO THE STAGE.
    WE WROTE ON HERE 4 YEARS AGO
    WHEN WE WERE 14. NOW WERE 18! WE WILL NEVER STOP LOVING YOU!!
    WE ARE YOUR BIGGESTTTT FANNNSSSS!!
    ONE DAY WE WILL MEET❤❤

  53. TRIPLETS (HALEY BRITTNEY COURTNEY CRAIG) Says:

    AND WERE SO SORRY FOR EVERYTHING WE SAID ABOUT UR WIFE
    THAT WAS RUDE AND INMATURE
    WE LOVE YOU!


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