The Beatles may be the most important band of the 20th century — and feel free to debate that in the comments, even though you're wrong — but their recordings have been notably absent from the TV landscape. Aside from live performance footage, when was the last time you heard a Beatles song used on TV?
Well, Sunday night, if you watch Mad Men. In the episode "Lady Lazarus," Don Draper played the song "Tomorrow Never Knows" from Revolver. It was a creative choice that cost as much as $250,000, and forced Mad Men's notoriously private showrunner Matthew Weiner to share a little bit of his writing process.
Aside from songs that have been played in the occasional commercial or the Beatles cartoon series that was shown on ABC in the 1960s, the use of "Tomorrow Never Knows" on "Mad Men" is likely one of the only times that a Beatles track has been used in a TV show, music and advertising executives say.
And it didn't come easy.
While the $250,000 figure is up for some debate, Weiner did disclose that he had been trying to get a Beatles song on the show for some time — and had been rejected in the past. In order to convince Apple Corps that "Tomorrow Never Knows" would be used properly, Weiner had to give them some of the context of the song, a rare glimpse into his writing process.
It was hard, because I had to, writing-wise, commit to the story that I thought was worthy of this incredible opportunity. The thing about that song in particular was, the Beatles are, throughout their intense existence, constantly pushing the envelope, and I really wanted to show how far ahead of the culture they were. That song to me is revolutionary, as is that album.
Don didn't seem as convinced about the song, but hey, what does he know?
This isn't the first time this season that Mad Men's music choices have made headlines. While certainly not as groundbreaking, Megan's performance of "Zou Bisou Bisou" in the premiere is still likely to be one of Season 5's most iconic moments.