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Oldies Music Playlist and Mixtape 115: Mad Men: Season 2

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

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Oldies Music Playlist and Mixtape 115: Mad Men: Season 2

Mad Men: Season 2

The second season of AMC's smash hit TV show Mad Men takes place in the year 1962, although several oldies songs featured in Season 2 weren't recorded until later, some as late as 1967. Which makes sense, actually: as the soundscape of the era began to reflect growing dissatisfaction and the sometimes frightening advances of mankind, the men in the grey flannel suits felt the world they inherited -- their world and their birthright -- begin to shift under their feet.

  1. Chubby Checker, "Let's Twist Again" (purchase/download)
    In the same way that Chubby's original hit helped define Season 1, his smash followup does for this season -- two years after the first, just like the show's timeline.
  2. George McGregor, "Temptation Is Hard To Fight" (listen)
    Technically from long after the show's year of 1962, this obscure soul gem on Chicago's Twinight label actually benefits from its lack of late-Sixties hip.
  3. Edd Henry, "Crooked Woman" (listen)
    Ultra-rare and extra groovy Detroit soul that barely made an impression on the locals at the time, yet Northern Soul fanatics recognize it as a lubricious, jazzy stomper all the same.
  4. Baby Washington, "Congratulations Honey" (listen)
    Washington sang in an early version of the Jaynetts before they hit with "Sally Go Round The Roses," and at the same time unleashed sultry solo strolls like this R&B number.
  5. Kyo Sakamoto, "Sukiyaki" (purchase/download)
    A bizarre one-off hit, and a real rarity in that it was sung in Kyo's native Japanese, "Sukiyaki" has nothing to do with the food: the song's hook is actually "I look up when I walk."
  6. Jack Jones, "Lollipops And Roses" (purchase/download)
    Easing into the more familiar "adult contemporary" sounds of Season 1, this lush ballad by the "Love Boat" crooner is lyrically sort of a lesser version of "Try A Little Tenderness."
  7. Perry Como, "The Blue Room" (purchase/download)
    The legendary crooner's golden voice fits this tale of marital bliss perfectly, right down to the pipe-smoking!
  8. Percy Faith and his Orchestra, "Theme From A Summer Place" (purchase/download)
    Perhaps the most famous of all adult contemporary instrumentals, and a positively bucolic soundtrack to young love of the era.
  9. Marilyn Monroe, "I'm Through With Love" (purchase/download)
    Yes, that Marilyn -- singing the song that made her an object of affection as well as lust in the comedy classic Some Like It Hot.
  10. The Pentagons, "I'm In Love" (purchase/download)
    Rare doo-wop by Californians, and a perfect bridge between '50s vocal group balladry and the lush Uptown soul of the new decade.
  11. Brenda Lee, "Break It To Me Gently" (purchase/download)
    Though she was only 17 at the time, Little Miss Dynamite stacked enough explosive heartbreak into this ballad to make it a girl-group standard.
  12. George Jones, "Cup Of Loneliness" (purchase/download)
    A late-'50s number by the man who brought country into the modern age -- largely by welding spirituality with honky-tonk despair, as he does here.
  13. Peter, Paul and Mary, "Early In The Morning" (purchase/download)
    Another spiritual, this time unearthed as folk music by the trio that brought it to the masses, and given a typically activist sheen.
  14. The Gigalo's, "Swingin' Saints" (purchase/download)
    An instrumental version of "When The Saints Go Marchin' In" that owes more than a little to Duane Eddy.
  15. Helene Smith, "Pot Can't Talk About The Kettle" (listen)
    The first Miami soul sister languished in mid-Sixties obscurity despite sassy, agreeably sloppy pop-soul 45s like this one.
  16. The Sevilles, "Treat You Right" (purchase/download)
    Another one of those nebulous late-period doo-woppers that should have had at least one hit. Namely, this one, which sported a trendy cha-cha lilt.
  17. Martin Denny, "Misirlou" (purchase/download)
    Before Dick Dale got to it, "Misirlou" was just a Greek love song often transformed into cheesy exotica -- but that was just the kind of travelogue Denny built his rep on.
  18. The Tornados, "Telstar" (purchase/download)
    Few songs better capture the feeling of the new era than this one, the instrumental that featured the weird sound of the clavioline and the even weirder production of Joe Meek.
  19. Johnny Mathis, "What'll I Do?" (purchase/download)
    A heartbreaker from the master that, typically, seduces as it cries.
  20. Mr. Acker Bilk, "Stranger On The Shore" (purchase/download)
    Another massive instrumental hit for the kind of people who wouldn't have gone near rock and roll, this clarinet take on the standard is a fitting farewell to the season.
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