The Boys of Summer

"The Boys of Summer" (Don Henley,  1984)
The metaphor of life as a journey is perhaps the most primordial mythological theme. Summer has also always been the season of youth, the season of Halcyon Days spent and always remembered. Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” is a superb MTV-era classic which articulates the notion of the melancholic passing of time. The video, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, a black-and-white masterpiece, is generally considered one of the best ever and deftly echoes the song’s repetitive rhythm and driving pace. The end of the video is a classic example of cinematic mise en abyme that would have made Baudrillard proud. One remembers the great drives taken by Jack Duluoz in Big Sur. The journey of “The Boys of Summer” is punctuated by the memory of love and summer, the inevitable of the the passing of time and the reality of the present. Henley actually saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac Seville, the status symbol car of the yuppie generation, and was reminded that the 80s was the era of sellouts and forgotten idealism. The song repeats the idea of being on the road and its symbolism of the long drive that everyone takes from childhood through summers on and onward.