"The Boys of Summer" is a song released in 1984 by former Eagles vocalist and drummer Don Henley, with lyrics written by Henley and music composed by Henley and Mike Campbell.
It is the lead track and first single from Henley's 1984 album Building the Perfect Beast and reached the top five in the United States as well as the top position on the Top Rock Tracks chart. The song's music video won many awards. "The Boys of Summer" was also performed live by Henley with the reunited Eagles; such a version is included on the group's 2005 Farewell 1 Tour-Live from Melbourne DVD.
In a 1987 interview with Rolling Stone, Henley explained that the song is more about aging and questioning the past—a recurring theme in Henley's lyrics (cf. "The End of the Innocence", and "Taking You Home".
In an interview with NME in 1985, Henley explained the 'Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac' lyrics as an example of his generation selling out:
"I was driving down the San Diego freeway and got passed by a $21,000 Cadillac Seville, the status symbol of the Right-wing upper-middle-class American bourgeoisie – all the guys with the blue blazers with the crests and the grey pants – and there was this Grateful Dead 'Deadhead' bumper sticker on it!"In an interview with Knoxville.com, Neil Giraldo, Pat Benatar's guitarist and husband, says that Henley came in the studio while he was in the process of recording the song "Love Is a Battlefield" using an up tempo beat, and asked Giraldo if he could steal the sound for use in his song, "The Boys of Summer", to which Giraldo gave his permission.
"The Boys of Summer" reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart for five weeks. It was also a hit in the United Kingdom, reaching number 12 on the UK Singles Chart. A re-release of the single in 1998 also reached #12.
In 1986, Henley won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for the song.
"The Boys of Summer" was ranked #416 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The video won the Video of the Year at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards (leading Henley to comment at the Awards the following year that he had won for "riding around in the back of a pickup"). It also won that year's awards for Best Direction, Best Art Direction, and Best Cinematography. The Best Direction award was presented to Mondino by Henley's then-former Eagles bandmate Glenn Frey.