“The Boys Of Summer” by Don Henley (1984)

I have never owned a Cadillac nor will I ever own a bumper sticker or, for that matter, anything related to the Grateful Dead. I’m not a baby boomer relating to Don Henley’s typically sardonic third verse lyric about days gone by. At its heart, “The Boys Of Summer” is a love song. An atmospheric, wistful love song with a synthesizer riff that will jam itself into your head and never, ever leave. I can relate to and appreciate that.

Is Don Henley that much of a prick that the video for “The Boys Of Summer” isn’t even on YouTube? Sheesh. Watch it here.


“The Bottle” by Gil-Scott Heron & Brian Jackson (1974): Uno-dos…Uno-dos-tres-quatro.

I’d heard the count-off that begins this soul-jazz classic hundreds of times before I heard the song it comes from. Sampled in numerous records and used by radio jocks and countdown shows, the ubiquity of that line belies the heavy content of the song itself.

Gil-Scott Heron was a heavy dude. He emerged at the very end of the Sixties, alternating between smooth singing and pointed, spoken political commentary that was a precursor to rap. “The Bottle” was also Heron’s biggest hit, peaking at #15 on the R&B charts. Even if you’re not paying attention to the lyrics, there’s a hypnotic feel to the music, which combines Latin and jazz. “Danceable” and Gil-Scott Heron may not often occupy the same sentence, but “The Bottle” also fits cleanly in the “early disco” category.

“Boys Keep Swinging” by David Bowie (1979): The world isn’t always your oyster when you’re a boy (particularly if you’re brown and/or queer), but it’s nice to listen to Bowie preen verbally and imagine that it’s so.

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