Don Henley - The Boys of Summer - 1984


The Boys of Summer is a song by Don Henley, released in 1984 on his album Building the Perfect Beast. This track has become a classic, known for its evocative lyrics and distinctive sound. Let's delve into the various aspects of this iconic song.


"The Boys of Summer" was written by Don Henley and Mike Campbell, the latter being a member of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers. The song was a hit, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the USA. It is often remembered for its nostalgic lyrics and synthesizer-driven melody.

Lyrics and Meaning

The lyrics of "The Boys of Summer" are filled with themes of nostalgia, lost love, and the passage of time. The phrase "boys of summer" in the song refers to the baseball players of summer and serves as a metaphor for lost youth and past romance. The song’s imagery, such as "empty streets," "deadhead stickers," and "sunglasses in the night," contributes to its melancholic yet evocative mood.

Music and Production

The musical composition of "The Boys of Summer" is notable for its combination of a driving beat, synthesizer underlays, and guitar work by Mike Campbell. The production style was typical of the mid-1980s but has a timeless quality that has helped the song endure over the years.

Awards and Legacy

"The Boys of Summer" won a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1985. Its enduring appeal is evident in its frequent airplay and numerous cover versions. The song is not only a staple on classic rock radio but also appears on many 'best of' lists and compilations.

Cultural Impact

The song's impact extends beyond just music; it has been referenced in various cultural contexts, symbolizing nostalgia and the changing of seasons. It resonates with listeners who connect with its themes of looking back and contemplating change and loss.

For further information and insights into "The Boys of Summer," you can refer to MOOCit and the following internal links:

  1. Don Henley
  2. 1980s Music
  3. Songwriting
  4. Music Production

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "The Boys of Summer" released? (1984) (!1985) (!1983) (!1986)

Who co-wrote "The Boys of Summer" with Don Henley? (Mike Campbell) (!Tom Petty) (!Bruce Springsteen) (!Stevie Nicks)

What chart position did "The Boys of Summer" reach on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA? (Number 5) (!Number 1) (!Number 10) (!Number 3)

What award did "The Boys of Summer" win in 1985? (Best Male Rock Vocal Performance Grammy) (!Best Music Video Grammy) (!Best Songwriter Grammy) (!Best Album Grammy)

What does the phrase "boys of summer" metaphorically represent in the song? (Lost youth and past romance) (!Baseball players) (!Summer holidays) (!Beach life)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Before his solo career, Don Henley was a member of which famous band? (The Eagles) (!Fleetwood Mac) (!The Heartbreakers) (!The Rolling Stones)

In which state was Don Henley born? (Texas) (!California) (!New York) (!Florida)

What is one of Don Henley's other popular solo hits? ("Dirty Laundry") (!"Hotel California") (!"American Girl") (!"Born in the USA")

Which instrument is Don Henley famous for playing? (Drums) (!Guitar) (!Bass) (!Keyboard)

What is the name of Don Henley's debut solo album? ("I Can't Stand Still") (!"Building the Perfect Beast") (!"The End of the Innocence") (!"Inside Job")

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

Which item is mentioned in the lyrics of "The Boys of Summer" as being seen on a Cadillac? (Deadhead sticker) (!Rolling Stones sticker) (!American flag) (!Eagle emblem)

Complete the lyric: "Out on the road today, I saw a ____ sticker on a Cadillac." (Deadhead) (!Love) (!Peace) (!Rock 'n' Roll)

What does the singer claim to see "in the sun" in the lyrics of the song? (Your brown skin shining) (!Your smile glowing) (!Your hair blowing) (!Your eyes sparkling)

Complete this lyric from "The Boys of Summer": "But I can see you - Your ____ shining in the sun." (Brown skin) (!Blond hair) (!Bright eyes) (!Red dress)

Which of the following is a recurring line in "The Boys of Summer"? (I can tell you my love for you will still be strong) (!The memories of summer will never fade) (!The sun will always shine for you) (!Summer dreams live on forever)


Don Henley The Eagles
1984 Release Year of "The Boys of Summer"
Mike Campbell Co-writer
Grammy Award Best Male Rock Vocal Performance
Deadhead sticker Mentioned in the lyrics

Open Tasks


  1. Exploring 1980s Music: Listen to other popular songs from the 1980s and compare them to "The Boys of Summer."
  2. Lyrics Analysis: Analyze the lyrics of "The Boys of Summer" and discuss what they mean to you.
  3. Artist Exploration: Research more about Don Henley and his career with The Eagles and as a solo artist.


  1. Cover Versions: Find and listen to cover versions of "The Boys of Summer" and compare them to the original.
  2. Music Video Analysis: Watch the music video for "The Boys of Summer" and discuss its themes and visuals.
  3. Genre Exploration: Explore other songs that blend rock and synth-pop like "The Boys of Summer."


  1. Songwriting Exercise: Write your own song inspired by the themes in "The Boys of Summer."
  2. Musical Analysis: Analyze the musical structure of "The Boys of Summer," focusing on its melody, rhythm, and harmony.
  3. Cultural Impact Study: Research and present the cultural impact of "The Boys of Summer" since its release.

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Oral Exam

  1. Comparative Analysis: Compare "The Boys of Summer" to another Don Henley song in terms of theme and musical style.
  2. Historical Context: Discuss how "The Boys of Summer" reflects the music trends and culture of the 1980s.
  3. Lyric Interpretation: Explain your interpretation of the song's lyrics and how they might resonate with different listeners.
  4. Influence Exploration: Discuss how "The Boys of Summer" might have influenced other artists and songs.
  5. Personal Connection: Share your personal connection or story related to "The Boys of Summer" and what it means to you.

OERs on the Topic


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