May 9, 2012

MAD MEN Makes Some Musical History

On this week's MAD MEN, the episode ended with Don Draper in his empty living room playing a cut from the "new" Beatles album REVOLVER, the proto-trippy "Tommorow Never Knows".  It was a cool and poignant moment for Don which transitioned into a montage of other characters at their own crossroads. But what was ever cooler is that it was the first use of a Beatles song on a dramatic television show.  Ever.

The Beatles licensing group Apple Corps are notoriously stingy about selling the songs for use in programming on TV and films.  Actually, I remember being told in film school there were two artists whose songs were essentially off-limits: the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen.  And it's not because the cost would be astronomical. It's because both the Beatles and Bruce didn't want to dilute their unique musical brands. While this sort of licensing can make a band enormous amounts of money (hello Journey!), it also can make songs less special.

There's an article in the TIMES this week about the process of getting the Beatles to agree to the MAD MEN use. It was not easy, according to creator Matthew Weiner. And it did cost a reported $250,000.

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