My mom and I are in SoCal visiting my littlest sister, The Child, this weekend. Originally being from here, Southern CA has my heart. We’ve been having gorgeous (albeit windy) weather all over the state this week, the kind of weather that makes you want to rent a convertible and drive for hours with the top down, singing at the top of your lungs.
This Saturday Soundtrack is a little different, because instead of highlighting a particular artist and their song, I’m sharing three versions of what I think of as the ultimate song for taking a road trip down the California Coast.
Don Henley‘s original version of The Boys of Summer came out the year after I was born. In high school it became the soundtrack of my summers spent in Huntington beach with my family. It’s the most melancholy of the versions, and made me feel nostalgic for childhood even when I was 17. It’s got a banging music video that it everything I love about the 80’s, and is, by far, my favorite version.
DJ Sammy came out with his version the year after I graduated high school. The Boys of Summer along with Heaven were played on repeat as I drove my closest girl cousins around Arizona the summer I went to visit them. I felt worldly and cool as the oldest cousin, the only one graduated from high school and the only one with a drivers license. They sang along with the radio while I added harmony, and we all felt young and wild and free.
The Ataris came out with their version as I was moving out of my all-black and fishnet stocking punk phase. I still dug the music, but was starting to add color to my wardrobe to combat the grey skies in San Francisco. I got so angry when I heard they changed the lyric “I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac,” to “I saw a Black Flag Sticker on a Cadillac.” They said they did it to be more relevant, I saw it as violating a classic and a sell-out move to appear more punk than they were. Still, the awesomeness of the song won my heart in the end, and the driving, almost angry beats of this version are what I turned to as I turned twenty and had to face the reality of not being a teenager with an endless summer of possibilities ahead of me for the first time.
So pick your version, click on a link below the title for Don Henley and DJ Sammy, as dailymotion doesn’t like to let you embed videos directly. I recommend listening to your favorite while driving down a windy road next to the beach with someone you love.
For fans of summer, nostalgia, and feeling young and free.
The Boys of Summer, a la Don Henley on Building the Perfect Beast, 1984
Don Henley – The Boys Of Summer by rvdgu2006
The Boys of Summer, a la DJ Sammy on Heaven, 2002
DJ Sammy – Boys of summer by Stella78
The Boys of Summer, a la The Ataris on So Long, Astoria, 2003
What’s your perfect road trip song?