So Groovy Now

As Scott suggested at the end of his last-song entry, here are my favourite (real) music moments thus far. I want to post this before the last episode—I don’t know how much enthusiasm I’ll have for posting next week, after everything’s finished. (Lists of Favourite Mad Men Musical Moments are everywhere online—you can probably turn up two or three dozen, at least.) I’m jumping the gun, I know; maybe the final song, whatever it is, would have made this list if I’d waited. The rankings past the first two or three are just estimates, and I can’t remember the context for some of these songs. I could start taking out DVDs and checking everything (clips are scarce on YouTube—just the really famous ones), but I’m a little Mad Men’ed out right now. I’ll just note whatever I do remember, and leave it at that.

sally

1. “Both Sides Now,” Judy Collins: Don and his kids at the side of the road, looking at what Don identifies as his childhood home. “This is where I grew up.” The shot of the black kid out front, Don and Sally looking at each other—Sally’s expression—the show was never greater than this one minute, and it all kind of came out of nowhere.

2. “Tomorrow Never Knows,” the Beatles: Don in his apartment, trying to make sense of the song; Peggy at the office, getting high; Pete looking through his car window at Beth as she draws a heart. Worth whatever they spent.

3. “Butchie’s Tune,” the Lovin’ Spoonful: Don and Glen behind the wheel of a large automobile, doing the one thing that Glen always wanted to do.

4. “Song to Woody,” Bob Dylan: Ended the infamous “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” episode. I can’t remember what actually preceded Dylan over the end credits, just that I was really moved.

5. “You Really Got Me,” the Kinks: Peggy, having just quit, walks towards the SCDP elevator for the last time; just before the elevator opens, she smiles and the Kinks start up.

6. “Bleecker Street,” Simon & Garfunkel: ended “The Suitcase,” which I recently re-watched and was just as excellent the second time. I think it plays after Peggy and Don meet briefly following their epic night together, Don trying to dodge news of Anna Draper’s death.

7. “Early in the Morning,” Peter, Paul & Mary: I found a highlight clip online set to this, beginning with the way it was actually used in the episode: Father Gill (a character I’d completely forgotten) sits alone in his room, takes some sheet music out of his guitar case, and begins to play.

8. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” Roberta Flack: Don outside his newly vacated apartment, the latest thing he’s lost. I suspect this will end up being the musical highlight of Season 7-B.

9. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” Bob Dylan: Ended the first season—all I remember is that Don was sitting on his staircase at home (either marital trouble, or some kind of reconciliation), and that it was great.

10. “Reach Out of the Darkness,” Friend & Lover: I think it ended the episode where Robert Kennedy is assassinated…that, or some other traumatic event from ’68. It was used with some irony, but not anything that felt cheap.

Ten more I liked a lot: “On the Street Where You Live,” Vic Damone; “I Got You Babe,” Sonny & Cher; “Love Is Blue,” Paul Mauriat; “Words of Love,” the Mamas & the Papas; “Piece of My Heart,” Big Brother & Holding Company; “If 6 Was 9,” Jimi Hendrix; “On a Carousel,” Hollies; “Temptation Is Hard to Fight,” George McGregor & the Bronzettes; “Tobacco Road,” Nashville Teens; “You Only Live Twice,” Nancy Sinatra. Not all that big on the last two as songs, but both were used really well. “Tobacco Road” felt like the first actual rock & roll to be used in the show, roundabout Season 3 (Don was preening for the business reporter interviewing him), and “You Only Live Twice” ended Season 5 with an unanswerable question: “Are you alone?” “Temptation Is Hard to Fight,” an obscure soul song from ’67, is the one great discovery I made via the show—“Butchie’s Tune,” too.

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So Groovy Now

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