– Don Draper
Creating the soundtrack to a period piece about the 1960s, especially one that takes itself incredibly seriously, is a daunting task. Around every corner are songs that tempt you with nostalgia or personal connection, but if those songs are used in even slightly the wrong context it can destroy the dynamic you were hoping for. “American Pie” is one of my favorite songs, and it was released in 1971; a year that could be the last we see at Sterling Cooper & Partners. That said, if the final credits of Mad Men roll by to the sweet melody and soothing timbre of that Don McLean classic I will toss my TV out the window and promptly run Matthew Weiner over with a John Deere riding mower. Then I’ll come home, drink 10 Old Fashioneds and brood in the dark wondering if he had wronged me or I had wronged myself.
David Chase ended the Sopranos in such a fashion musically, using Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” as either a fill in for his middle finger or a statement on American culture (or both); apparently we get to decide. Matthew Weiner, a Chase protégé, will hopefully take a different course. The music he has already used suggests he will.
Here are the defining musical moments of the first six seasons of Mad Men.