Summer loves and summer games and the bittersweet passage of time, sometimes all interconnected, inspire the latest pick in our Top 100 Songs of Summer Countdown.
Hamptons 100 Songs of Summer #18
“The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley
Eagles percussionist and singer Don Henley went solo with 1984’s Building the Perfect Beast, and this cut has gone on to become one of the closest-to-perfect-as-you-can-find songs of late summer.
A look back at carefree days and long-ago loves, then an allusion to times spent trying to change the world and ultimately a lament upon the reality that such efforts may have gone mostly for naught, the haunting tune hit the Top 5 in the U.S. and the U.K., and Rolling Stone honored it on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song also earned Henley Video of the Year at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Performance in 1986. (We also can’t help but love the nod to the “boys of summer,” anyone who takes the field to play our summer game of baseball—or, if you’re among the Artists-Writers Game set in the Hamptons, softball—and keeps that youthful exuberance alive, despite the passage of time.)
“Nobody on the road/Nobody on the beach/I feel it in the air/The summer’s out of reach,” he sings. Well, we hope we’re not there quite yet.