Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Hackers Now Reportedly Say Sony Can Release 'The Interview,' But With Changes Hackers Now Reportedly Say Sony Can Release 'The Interview,' But With Changes George Clooney Pushes For VOD Release Of 'The Interview,' Calls Out Hollywood For Lack Of Courage George Clooney Pushes For VOD Release Of 'The Interview,' Calls Out Hollywood For Lack Of Courage Watch: Sony Releases "In Franco And Rogen We Trust" Promo For 'The Interview' Watch: Sony Releases "In Franco And Rogen We Trust" Promo For 'The Interview' Watch: The Style Of Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Terrence Malick & More Recreated With Stock Footage Watch: The Style Of Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Terrence Malick & More Recreated With Stock Footage Surprising Full Cast Revealed For Jason Reitman's Live Read Of 'Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back' Surprising Full Cast Revealed For Jason Reitman's Live Read Of 'Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back' Sony Officially Yanks 'The Interview' From Release Following Hacker Threats Sony Officially Yanks 'The Interview' From Release Following Hacker Threats The 21 Best Performances Of 2014 The 21 Best Performances Of 2014 The 12 Best Shots Of 2014 The 12 Best Shots Of 2014 Baffling First Official Synopsis For Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' Unveiled Baffling First Official Synopsis For Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' Unveiled Rumor: 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Will Address Fan Complaints From 'Man Of Steel' Rumor: 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Will Address Fan Complaints From 'Man Of Steel' Watch: Christian Bale Goes On A Hedonistic Journey In First Trailer For Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' Watch: Christian Bale Goes On A Hedonistic Journey In First Trailer For Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' The 20 Best Movie Posters Of 2014 The 20 Best Movie Posters Of 2014 Recap: 'The Newsroom' Series Finale, Season 3, Episode 6 'What Kind Of Day Has It Been' Recap: 'The Newsroom' Series Finale, Season 3, Episode 6 'What Kind Of Day Has It Been' More Leaks Reveal Reported Plans Around ‘Star Wars’ Episodes 8 & 9 More Leaks Reveal Reported Plans Around ‘Star Wars’ Episodes 8 & 9 Sony Leaks Reveal ‘Aquaman’ Director, ‘X-Men’/’Fantastic Four’ Crossover Plans & More Sony Leaks Reveal ‘Aquaman’ Director, ‘X-Men’/’Fantastic Four’ Crossover Plans & More Review: Assassination Comedy ‘The Interview’ Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, And Lizzy Caplan Review: Assassination Comedy ‘The Interview’ Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, And Lizzy Caplan The 20 Best Films Of 2014 The 20 Best Films Of 2014 Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

The Long And Winding Licensing Road To Sunday's 'Mad Men' Beatles Appearance

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist May 9, 2012 at 12:01PM

Any mention of the Beatles in popular media also comes replete with tales of conflict, blocked licensing rights, and frustration for those in pursuit of a few seconds of material. Master recordings of the group are considered an impossible goal, and on Sunday's “Mad Men” episode entitled “Lady Lazarus,” the group's inaccessibility even stood as a point of frustration for the characters. However, near the episode's end, as Don Draper (Jon Hamm) struck up “Tomorrow Never Knows” -- the original, not a cover -- while listening to Revolver, the moment carried with it a long history for creator/show-runner Matthew Weiner in the creation of those thirty seconds.
3
Revolver Don Draper

Any mention of the Beatles in popular media also comes replete with tales of conflict, blocked licensing rights, and frustration for those in pursuit of a few seconds of material. Master recordings of the group are considered an impossible goal, and on Sunday's “Mad Men” episode entitled “Lady Lazarus,” the group's inaccessibility even stood as a point of frustration for the characters. However, near the episode's end, as Don Draper (Jon Hamm) struck up “Tomorrow Never Knows” -- the original, not a cover -- while listening to Revolver, the moment carried with it a long history for creator/show-runner Matthew Weiner in the creation of those thirty seconds.

Considering most shows would kill off its entire cast to license the rights to the Beatles' library, it just goes to show the cultural residency, as well as the depth of Weiner's piggy bank, that “Mad Men” currently occupies. According to those briefed on the deal, Lionsgate, the studio behind “Mad Men,” paid close to $250,000 for the licensing and publishing rights, a few dollars up from the $100,000 another major song might draw.

It also marks the rare occurrence of the original recording being played, eschewing any “Across the Universe”-style cover theatrics in the process, and the commitment shows. “It was always my feeling that the show lacked a certain authenticity because we never could have an actual master recording of the Beatles performing,” Matthew Weiner said in a New York Times article on the show's relationship to the group. “Not just someone singing their song or a version of their song, but them, doing a song in the show. It always felt to me like a flaw. Because they are the band, probably, of the 20th century.”

Obviously, as seen with another project featuring Beatles covers, 2003's disappointing “I Am Sam,” the achievement only seems worth it if the end product is satisfying, and Weiner seems completely aware of that dynamic. In fact, it even troubled him when dealing with Apple Corps, who owns the Beatles' library rights, and simultaneously writing the episode. “It was hard,” Weiner said, “because I had to, writing-wise, commit to the story that I thought was worthy of this incredible opportunity.” After being rejected for a few years in the past by Apple Corps, he also had to break his seal of secrecy with the company to win them over, sharing script pages and storylines to make the situation completely transparent.

In the end it worked though, because the moment marked “Lady Lazarus” as a bold comment on both the characters' relationship with youth culture, as well as an observation on music's relationship to film or TV in general. Season one's use of “Waters of Babylon,” and season three's “Where is Love” from “Oliver” both were impeccably used ending cues, and this latest was another sign that “Mad Men” can operate on a musical basis like few others can, or ever will.

This article is related to: Television, TV News, Mad Men, The Beatles


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates