Origins of the Mad Men Theme Song

Mad Men, the television show on AMC, has been one of my favourite TV shows the past ten years. Discovered through Netflix, I have devoured the every season since I first discovered it five years ago. The theme song is instantly recognizable, to lovers of the show and likely to non-viewers of the show.

The story behind its creation is not something I had looked up before. It was by chance after browsing through Spotify’s new albums when I came across the artist RJD2. One of his latest songs, Doin’ It Right, had a good vibe to it and I went to find a version of it on YouTube. When I searched for it, I came across RJD2 performing a song titled, “A Beautiful Mine,” which had the subtitle of being the theme from Mad Men.

A quick Google search later brought me to this post by Tom Barnes, The Strange Origins of the ‘Mad Men’ Theme Song:

But one fateful day, Weiner was driving listening to Marketplace on NPR when he heard an instrumental version of RJD2’s song playing as a segue between two stories. He immediately called his assistant who helped him identify the song. “We listened to it, and it had everything to it: Big old movie quality to it, and updated beat to it, it had drama. I just loved it.” 

The original song is not an instrumental, but a rap song with the rapper Aceyalone rapping overtop of the noticeable beats. Interestingly enough, it is the story of a man.

Something outa nothing

Oh, what a far cry

More than a hard tribe

Pointed out the start guide

Made love, made hate

Saved sake

Nothing left the crate but fate

The series finale airs on Sunday, so it is fitting that I come across the story of that theme song at the very end of its lifespan.