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Oldies Music Playlist and Mixtape 114: Mad Men: Season 1

A playlist of songs from AMC's hit Mad Men TV show

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Oldies Music Playlist and Mixtape 114: Mad Men: Season 1

Mad Men: Season 1

The first season of AMC's smash hit TV show Mad Men takes place in the year 1960, although several oldies songs featured in Season 1 weren't recorded until later, some as late as 1965. No matter: the lush swirl of beautiful music, lounge Latin, exotic jazz, and the occasional rock hit or pop novelty perfectly captures the world these men in the grey flannel suits would have occupied in that heady Camelot era, when America was king and the faintest winds of change had already begun to blow.

  1. Gordon Jenkins, "Caravan" (purchase/download)
    The man who helped invent easy listening music (and later became Sinatra's arranger) opens with an exotic lounge artifact.
  2. Vic Damone and Percy Faith, "The Street Where You Live" (purchase/download)
    The most popular and highest-charting version of this My Fair Lady standout.
  3. Don Cherry, "Band Of Gold" (purchase/download)
    Not the Freda Payne song, but a bel canto ballad from 1956 by one of the world's best amateur golfers!
  4. Robert Maxwell, "Shangri-La" (purchase/download)
    A classic instrumental example of "stripper" music from the era, used to great effect in the show.
  5. The McGuire Sisters, "Volare" (purchase/download)
    The '50s biggest female pop vocal act shine on the b-side version of the Italian standard (which would become a huge hit the same year for Domenico Modugno).
  6. Bobby Vinton, "P.S. I Love You" (purchase/download)
    Before the Beatles, Bobby hit with this much different song that pretends to be offhand about the postscript.
  7. The Andrews Sisters, "I Can Dream Can't I" (purchase/download)
    The previous generation's big distaff vocalists and their rendition of this standard, which eclipsed even Tommy Dorsey's in popularity.
  8. Rosemary Clooney, "Botch-A-Me (Ba-Ba-Baciami Piccina)" (purchase/download)
    One of Clooney's signature "ethnic" Italian crossovers, a fun number translated as "Kiss Me, My Little One."
  9. Frankie Laine, "Metro Polka" (purchase/download)
    Old Leather Lungs' last hit before switching labels, this tells the story of a family built on a chance polka meeting!
  10. Percy Faith, "Non Dimenticar" (purchase/download)
    One of Faith's bigger and most enduring hits, this lush instrumental translates to "Don't Forget."
  11. The Aquatones, "You" (purchase/download)
    Not much rock gets into Mad Men, revolving as it does around adults who would have never listened to the stuff, but this relatively obscure doo-wop gem is a nice change of pace.
  12. Chubby Checker, "The Twist" (purchase/download)
    The classic pop cover that started the world's greatest dance craze.
  13. Bobby Helms, "My Special Angel" (listen)
    A rare touch of country courtesy of Mr. Jingle Bell Rock's other big crossover hit.
  14. Julie London, "Fly Me To The Moon" (purchase/download)
    A sexy, jazzy Latin take on the standard done a year before Sinatra made it his own.
  15. Astrud Gilberto, "Agua De Beber" (purchase/download)
    The title means merely "water to drink," but this Antonio Carlos Jobim number is a bossa nova standard. Perfect mood music.
  16. Luiz Bonfa, "Night And Day" (purchase/download)
    Classic (or is that classical?) jazz guitar take on the Cole Porter standard.
  17. Yma Sumac, "Gopher Mambo" (purchase/download)
    Sometimes known simply as "Gopher," this Latin number delivers exotica as only the bizarrely beautiful voice of Yma can.
  18. Bud Powell, "There Will Never Be Another You" (purchase/download)
    A tribute to Thelonious Monk done by the era's other great bop pianist.
  19. Ella Fitzgerald, "(I'll Take) Manhattan" (purchase/download)
    Ella's timeless vocals sell the sensual splendor of America's upwardly-mobile years.
  20. Miles Davis, "Blue In Green" (purchase/download)
  21. Miles Davis, "Concierto De Aranjuez (Adagio)" (purchase/download)
    Two songs that define the bop master -- the first, from his groundbreaking "Kind Of Blue," the second, the centerpiece of his aptly titled "Sketches Of Spain."
  22. Bob Dylan, "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" (purchase/download)
    A fittingly bitter yet wistful kiss-off from the artist who brought those kinds of songs into the mainstream.
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