By now the RJD2/Aceyalone track “A Beautiful Mine”—the instrumental version, anyway—has become as indelibly associated with Mad Men as Lucky Strikes and Craigslisted “**RETRO COOL Mad Men midcentury furniture MUST SEE**” ads. But for a simple twist of fate, to quote a song by an artist Don Draper hates, the show’s theme was very nearly a Beck tune, as Beck himself relates in his new interview with Billboard. Talking about how he feels his artistic instincts have gone “awry” of late, Beck mentions that he turned down repeated requests to write the theme song for a certain fledgling cable drama.
“It’s about ad executives in the ’60s? They’re going to make a show about that? Really? Um, I don’t think so,” Beck recalls himself saying, before eventually kicking himself. As Stereogum points out, Beck was working on Modern Guilt around the time, so it’s likely whatever he came up with would have sounded a little something like that. But really, Beck already wrote the perfect Mad Men theme song for a show about a full-grown man who’s not afraid to cry, in a changing era that was out to defy the logic of all sexx laws.