We often get songs in our heads that stay stuck, sometimes for days.
For me, it’s been Don Henley’s Boys of Summer. It started last week as the kids went back to school and the replay button in my mind is still on. It has made me ponder the song. And it certainly brings back memories for me.
I love the phrase, “Sun goes down alone” on the empty beach. It captures the melancholy so well of the carefree summer days that inevitably give way to fall and the return to routine jobs and school.
I also wonder about the outcome of characters in certain songs. What happened? Did they live or die? Did true love last?
I’ve decided to write the ending for Henley’s Boys of Summer.
As you may recall in the song, the singer is longing to get back together with his brown-skinned girl with her hair pulled back and her Wayfarers (sunglasses) on.
He sees a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac while he’s driving, referencing the Grateful Dead, and it reminds him of his love.
A favourite band when he and his girl were a couple.
He tells her he will love her after the boys of summer are gone.
So this is what happened.
Some college boys arrive in a resort town for summer jobs on a construction crew. They spend their off hours at the beach, playing volleyball, watching the sun set each night, throwing footballs around in the water, chasing girls.
Wayfarers woman gets a crush on a particularly amiable guy. She decides to act on her infatuation. She dumps the singer and hangs out with crew guy and his pals. It’s fun, intoxicating. There are lots of parties, romance, steamy summer nights. Feelings are intensified as only happens in the summer season with its easy-going feel and weather made for creating memories.
Singer is crushed. He spends his summer lamenting the lost love and as it draws to a close, he pens this hit tune.
He’s willing to take her back, no matter what. He promises he’ll still love her after the boys of summer are gone. He sings that he’ll show her what he’s made of.
He drives by the empty beach. He drives by the girl’s house – home of her parents – but knows she’s not there. She has gone back to school with plans of getting together with her new boyfriend every weekend. He’s at a different school but promises they can make it work.
They stay together through to Thanksgiving but the distance is too much. Brown-skinned girl is dumped.
She doesn’t go running back to her singer though, who continues to write other songs but never hits the same groove he had with Boys of Summer. He does well but this song is what defines him.
A couple of years go by and they meet up in the same resort town. He has become a banker and she sees him when she goes in to pay down her student loan.
There’s something about the suit, the business manner, that really appeals to her. She’s learned that boys of summer do come and go. She’s grown up. She longs for stability.
He invites her to see a Grateful Dead concert. She hesitates but decides to go.
It’s the first of many dates for them again. They re-kindle their romance. She can’t understand why she ever left him.
He can’t believe he actually got her back.