It started out with “Zou Bisou Bisou” and ended with Nancy Sinatra reminding us that we only live twice. During its fifth season, AMC’s “Mad Men” turned forgotten mid-1960s songs into modern day trending topics. Here’s a look back at the songs from Season 5.
A French Kiss
The fifth season of the show kicked off with Jessica Pare’s rendition of an old Gillian Hills song, “Zou Bisou Bisou.” Pare’s character, Megan, serenaded hubby Don Draper at his 40th birthday shindig, and by morning “Mad Men” fans everywhere were clamoring to find out more about the song. (Inquiring minds discovered that “Zou Bisou Bisou” means “Oh! Kiss kiss!” and that the song was also recorded by Sophia Loren for the 1960 movie, “The Millionairess.”) AMC released Pare’s version on 7″ vinyl (how retro!), and according to Forbes it was even a hit on iTunes. You can check out Jessica Pare’s performance of the song here.
The Beatles seventh album may be best known for songs like “Yellow Submarine” “Eleanor Rigby” and “Good Day Sunshine,” but it’s the album’s final track that’s the trippiest. So it’s no wonder that on the “Mad Men” episode “Lady Lazarus”– smack in the middle of the year 1966 — Megan Draper hands her husband the “Revolver” album and instructs him to play “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
But the use of the song didn’t come cheap for “Mad Men” producer Matthew Weiner or Lionsgate, the studio that produces the series. According to the Wall Street Journal, the studio paid close to $250,000 for use of the song, which is a whopping five times more than it usually costs to license a song for TV. Meanwhile, the “Lady Lazarus” episode marked the first time a master recording by the Beatles was ever licensed for a television show. You can listen to “Tomorrow Never Knows” here.
The fifth season finale, “The Phantom,” left us with dangling storylines and signed off with Don Draper with a mischievous twinkle in his eye as he nursed a Canadian Club in the show’s final scene. But the song “You Only Live Twice” — made famous by Nancy Sinatra in the 1967 James Bond flick of the same name– punctuated the end-title of the episode and promptly sent Twitterverse ablaze.
The Huffington Post speculated that the inclusion of “You Only Live Twice” in the “Mad Men” finale was interesting, since the James Bond film premiered in theaters on June 13, 1967. While most of the episode “The Phantom” was set around the Easter season, could the final scene have suggested a brief time jump?
According to the The Hollywood Reporter, Weiner had had “You Only Live Twice” in his back pocket for a long time, and almost used the song at the end of the pilot episode back in 2007. Instead, he decided to wait all these years for the right time period, because he felt the lyrics related so well to Don Draper and the gang. Because hasn’t Don already lived twice, what with his two personas and all?
Still, what’s a few months here or there when it comes to an end-title song?
Matthew Weiner is a notorious stickler when it comes to the show’s soundtrack, even famously changing the closing song of the season 5 premiere after preview critics pointed out that the original song had been released six months after the depicted time period. So it was out with Dusty Springfield’s “The Look of Love,” and in with her “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.” Hey, at least it was still Dusty.
Meanwhile, has “Mad Men’s” retro soundtrack turned into the new playlist for our modern day lives? Because, let’s face it, they just don’t write ’em like that anymore.
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