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 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.