MMV: The Boys of Summer

MMVGood 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.

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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6 Responses to MMV: The Boys of Summer

  1. le0pard13 says:

    One of the best beginning repetitive riffs to ever start a song.

  2. Spikor says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen that video before. I’ve sure heard the song though. It’s on pretty much daily on the radio. I don’t mind that much… but I could easily go a day without hearing it any time now.

    I liked The Ataris’ cover of it a few years ago too, despite there being almost no real original take on it. I probably prefer their token ‘aughties pop punk stuff, like San Dimas High School Football Rules.

    Links to the songs in question:

    • I’ve heard the Ataris version as well, though I’m definitely more familiar with Henley’s. I thought the change of “Deadhead” to “Black Flag” was an interesting update.

      • Spikor says:

        I also meant to mention that I find it interesting that CSN is almost always mentioned as CSN stateside… but up here they’re almost always CSNY… I’ve even heard them called CSNY when one of their Y-less songs come on.

        We’ve always gotta have our hooks into anything even remotely related to Canada.

        • Honestly, I think it’s about 50/50 on CSN(Y). I tend to go with just CSN because I’m more familiar with Young as a solo artist.

          But you guys can keep him. He’s a bit of a jerk. 😛

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