I've thought alot about the meaning of the lyrics,and found many interesting comments here.To me the song is very special, because it sort of sums up my whole childhood/teenage years.For me, "The Boys of Summer", makes me think of a guy who lives in a small town by the beach, and is in love with this wild, free-spirited hot townie girl who dumps him to run off with the city boys who come to the beach during summer vacation. Makes me feel sadness and longing for something out of reach, but for some reason, I like listening to it. To me its mainly about lost youth (summer represents youth), and the feeling of being young. I will think back to a time before mortgages, career, and children defined me.
So, the song is a metaphor about a broken bro-mance, so to speak. We settle into our lives, and the future isn't as exciting and mysterious anymore, we've made our choices, now we must live with them.Well, I think it's just as interesting to read people's personal interpretations of songs as it is to read the true inspiration behind it. I will always listen to this song and reflect back on my younger days even though I really should "just let them go".But you can envision Petty's voice with that melody except, I bet they'd slowed it down a notch. I didn't know, until today (some 33 years after I first heard it) that Mike Campbell wrote the music. Kahn borrowed the phrase from a Dylan Thomas poem, "I See the Boys of Summer," which begins, "I see the boys of summer in their ruin...." I've always assumed Henley was inspired by the poem, not the Kahn book, as the themes of the song echo the poem.Aug 2016, All the verses are excellent but my best:"Out on the road today, I saw a Dead Head Sticker Ona Cadillac." Wonder if Boys of Summer means something else instead? in the early 80's and that was a landmark for me when wandering around the area. Part 2 - Henley and Frey used to live together for periods of time when they were writing songs.
Does anyone know the name or location of the surplus store the camera pans past in the video? Henley has said in interviews that they would "scream" and "yell" and "throw things." Henley was a neatnick and Frey was "the lovable slob." I would bet they made each other crazy..night, they went out together to pick up girls, etc.He appears to be a fairly complex and interesting character and being a lyricist probably read a lot of poetry. One of the most beautiful moments in this song is that haunting guitar solo in the middle that sounds like seagulls crying.It is so evocative of summer and the beach and heartbreakingly plaintive and moving. Even though it's been explained I still don't get what he means by "Boys Of Summer."There was a singer "Marc Eric" which many probably don't know about because he was never big but he released one LP in 1969 and one of the songs on the LP was called "Where Did The Girls of Summer Go?if he or she doesnt then you pine for the past when you thought you were loved. he can see her walking though the parking lot or the shake down. It clearly has to do with the relationships between youths and adults. He and Frey were very close at one point, including being roommates for several years at the start of the Eagles and writing songs together.The song is about a guy dating a chick whos into the Dead. Both men were said to feel bad about the rift in their relationship. Looking back you realize "those days are gone forever".What a great way to unwind after a long work week..kick off a night on the town!