The skinny ties. The sideburns. The Pepsi Sno Ball. Mad Men has been lauded for its meticulous visual presentation of the 1960s. But perhaps even more important is the soundtrack the show’s creators select to mark the march through the decade. When the ASO presents Music of the “Mad Men” Era, we hope the set list includes these tunes from the show’s seven-season run.
1 “Band of Gold,” Don Cherry (Season 1, Episode 1)
Big band horns and a doo-wop intro put us squarely in 1960, where we meet Don Draper at a bar trying to come up with a way to keep smokers puffing on Lucky Strikes.
2 “Tomorrow Never Knows,” The Beatles (Season 5, Episode 8)
The Fab Four make a rare TV appearance (which cost a rumored $250,000) as Don tries to grapple with the sounds of the world in 1966—sitar, guitars, and drums recorded in reverse. Unamused, Don abruptly lifts the needle on the psychedelic experience.
3 “You Really Got Me,” The Kinks (Season 5, Episode 11)
Breaking from a preference for obscure tracks, the show goes with this famous rock guitar riff to play Peggy Olson out of the advertising office and on to her new job. We all wish we could quit to this shredding soundtrack.
4 “I’m a Man,” Spencer Davis Group (Season 7, Episode 1)
This up-tempo, blues-organ jam announces the beleaguered Don as he slides coolly onto an LAX moving walkway on his way to meet his young wife, who picks him up in an Austin-Healey convertible.
On the calendar: The 1960s live on at this Atlanta Symphony Orchestra ode on May 22 and 23.
This article originally appeared in our May 2015 issue under the headline “Beat Generation.”