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The Beatles Featured in ‘Mad Men’ Plot

Don Draper Jon Hamm
AMC

For the third time this season, classic rock played an important role in the plot of and episode of AMC’s ‘Mad Men.’ Last month saw Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) try to get the Rolling Stones to shill for Heinz Baked Beans and the Beach Boys‘ ‘I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times’ was the soundtrack to Roger Sterling’s (John Slattery) first acid trip. On last night’s (May 6) episode, the Beatles worked their way in to the daily life of the men and women of Sterling Cooper Draper Price.

Early on, Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) and Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson) are pitching a client with a shot-for-shot remake of the Beatles’ film ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ complete with screaming girls running after a moptopped young man. Everybody loves the idea, but the trouble is finding the right song to go with the commercial. They know the Beatles won’t license their music, so they decide to look for a different band, either some other soundalike band (Herman’s Hermits and the Merseybeats are suggested) or they’ll compose their own.

Feeling out of touch with the younger generation, Don asks his 25-year old wife, Megan (Jessica Pare), who is a copywriter at SCDP, to help him out. She tells him that sounds are changing so much that it’s impossible to keep up with everything.

Later in the episode, Megan gives Don a copy of ‘Revolver,’ which had been recently released, and tells him to listen to a specific track as she leaves for her acting class. Alone in his apartment at the end, he puts the record on the turntable and places the needle deep on the album. ‘Revolver’s’ psychedelic closing track ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ comes out of the speakers.

As the song plays, a montage begins with all the characters involved in this episode going about their evening, wondering what the future will hold for them. But Don doesn’t make it through the song. Still not “getting it,” he lifts the needle and heads for bed. Maybe Megan should have recommnded ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ instead.

The use of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ represents one of the few times the Beatles have allowed their recordings to be used in a television show. Lionsgate, the studio that produces ‘Mad Men,’ had to pay a reported fee of $250,000 for its usage, and ‘Mad Men’ creator Matthew Weiner said he had to tell Apple Corps, the Beatles’ company, the episode’s plot and how the song fit into it.

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