Good morning boys and girls of summer, it’s Monday, and — this being a week that isn’t being disrupted by self-serving blog celebrations — that means it’s time for the Monday Music Video. Today is September 23rd, and that date may not sound like it means much, but if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you might have noted yesterday. September 22 was the autumnal equinox; summer is officially over.
Of course, I live in western Oregon, so the signs have been there for a while. The rain is gradually coming back, the heat has died off, and it won’t be long until I’ll be able to look outside my window and see nothing but white as far as the eye can see. Not snow; fog. But before all that, let’s send summer out with a last hurrah from Don Henley.
The term “supergroup” refers to a band that is made up of members who all (or mostly) had successful careers — either solo or with other bands — before uniting. For example, Crosby, Stills and Nash was formed by Byrds member David Crosby, Buffalo Springfield member Stephen Stills, and Hollies member Graham Nash (and is occasionally joined by fellow Buffalo Springfield member Neil Young). I am unaware of a corresponding term for the inverse, a band which becomes successful and then its members become successful individually later on. It’s certainly no more common an occurrence — “failed solo career” is a common description of the aftermath of many band breakups — but it just as certainly happens now and then. The Beatles would be one notable example. And another would be the Eagles.
Now, it might be cheating slightly to count Joe Walsh’s solo career, as it began before the Eagles did and continued while he was performing in the band, but it was definitely a success, with some of his lasting hits including “Rocky Mountain Way” and “Life’s Been Good”. Bassist Timothy Schmit may not be as big a household name as his band mates, but he did manage to get to #25 — an appreciable position if not a stellar one — with his song “Boys Night Out” in 1987. But for the big successes post-Eagles-breakup, one would look to Glenn Frey, who had several hits (often through inclusion on soundtracks) and Don Henley. Henley charted multiple times on the Billboard Hot 100, and hit #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks with four different songs. One of the most enduring of those was his song about lost love, “The Boys of Summer”.
The song is fairly wistful, and the music video reflects this, showing a man at three stages of life: boy (learning to play the drums), a young(ish) man (Henley himself), and a middle-aged man (sitting behind an office desk). Henley’s lip synching is a tad unconvincing, but this is a quibble in an otherwise excellent video. The video met with as much acclaim as the song did, being a favorite in rotation on both MTV and VH1 — both of whom put it on their greatest videos of all time lists. It also cleaned up at the 1985 Video Music Awards, being nominated for seven different awards, and taking home four of them: Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography… and Best Video of the Year.
If I had to guess, I’d say its lasting appeal is that it manages to tap into a sense of nostalgia without being tied to any specific era. The boys of summer may be gone, but “The Boys of Summer” will still be strong for years to come.