The Boys of Summer by Don Henley
The opening lyrics ("Nobody on the roads, nobody on the beach") refer to the California coast as summer turns into fall. It becomes a much quieter place when the weather gets cold.
The title comes from a baseball book by Roger Kahn called Boys of Summer. The book is about The Brooklyn Dodgers, who broke the hearts of their fans when they moved to Los Angeles.
The music was written by Mike Campbell, who worked with Tom Petty as a guitarist and producer for many years. He has also written tracks for many songs, including "Refugee," "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," and "Don't Do Me Like That." Campbell offered this to Petty, but he turned it down and the song went to Henley, who wrote the lyrics. Campbell also played guitar on this and produced it.
Mike Campbell told us about recording this song: "I used to have a 4-track machine in my house and I had just gotten a drum machine - it's when the Roger Linn drum machine first came out. I was playing around with that and came up with a rhythm. I made the demo on my little 4-track and I showed it to Tom, but at the time, the record we were working on, Southern Accents. it didn't really sound like anything that would fit into the album. The producer we were working with at the time, Jimmy Iovine, called me up one day and said he had spoken with Don, who I'd never met, and said that he was looking for songs. He gave me his number and I called him up and played it for him and he called me the next day and said he put it on in his car and had written these words and wanted to record it. That's
kind of how it started. Basically, he wanted to recreate the demo as close as we could. We ended up changing the key for the voice. We actually cut it in one key, did the whole record with overdubs and everything, and then he decided to change the key like a half step up or something, we had to do the whole record again, but it turned out pretty good."
The video for this song was the big winner at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards. just the second year the awards were held. It won for Video of the Year, Best Director, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography.
Speaking about his connection to the song in the book I Want My MTV. Mondino said: "I was living in Paris, and we were into a new era, more modern. But I couldn't refuse to go to LA - it was like a dream. When I got there, I was very disappointed, because there's a big difference between what I saw when I was a kid in the beautiful old Hollywood movies, and what LA's actually about. When I listened to 'Boys Of Summer,' there was something nostalgic - he was looking back, talking about something that he's leaving behind. The '70s were dying."
Shot in black and white, (as were many of Mondino's videos), it was artistic and abstract. When Henley accepted the award for Best Video at the VMAs, he admitted to having no idea what was going on when they shot the clip, but said that Mondino and his crew made "Southern California look like the South of France." Getting Henley to show up to an awards show was no easy feat - when The Eagles won the Album of the Year Grammy for Hotel California. Henley and the rest of the band skipped the ceremony.