Thursday, July 22, 2010

"The Boys of Summer" by Don Henley

Birthday wishes go out today to Don Henley - who is not only a founding member of the 1970s super group the Eagles but who's also had a successful solo career as well; when not making music (or headlines, thanks to romances with the likes of Stevie Nicks) Henley devotes his time to environmental charities. Unlike many celebrity activists, though, Henley appears to have a sense of humour about himself. Once upon a time while performing in Austin he got onstage with Mojo Nixon and began beat boxing to Nixon's song Don Henley Must Die, leaving the audience ecstatic, Nixon speechless, and the two musicians fast friends...

The Boys of Summer was a Top 5 hit for Henley when it was released as the first single from his second solo album, 1984's Building the Perfect Beast; the video, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, is in the style of the French Nouvelle Vague. Not only did Henley win a Grammy for his performance of the song but the video won a Grammy as well.

I can't say for certain what drew me to the song in the first place as a teenager aside from its haunting style, sharp imagery, and literate lyrics; as I get older, though, I've come to appreciate the song on an entirely different level. As much as I am able to see the onset of middle age as a positive development (and not just because no amount of money would make me go through my 20s again, unless I could do it knowing what I know now) there's always going to be that sense of loss about growing older as well, even if it is a loss which is both welcome and commonplace.

For me The Boys of Summer neatly combines these two opposing sets of emotions.
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