This week, I’m going to share some cover songs that I like.
I’ve long believed that someone’s preferred version of a song will almost always be the first one they hear. It’s not a matter of which one truly came first, just which one came first to that listener.
Such it is with “The Boys of Summer.” I first heard the song my junior year of high school courtesy of the three legendary Tyler CD’s. It’s an intense, almost agonizing listen — with a great chorus equal parts soaring and mourning. The swirling background guitar has an angsty tension to it that simply screams “emo.”
And a few years later, I learned that it’s a cover of an iconic, laid-back ’80s song by Don Henley. Once you listen to both subsequently, it’s very clear what Henley’s initial vision for the song was, and how The Ataris took it in a more emotive direction. It’s also clear, to my ears, that The Ataris’ added intensity pays dividends.
This track is also an entry on the “Summer Pen Pals CD,” the first mix CD I ever gave to my now-wife, back when we were only swapping notes. More on that in later Songs of the Day.