A Björk Song Almost Ended Up on Mad Men

Björk! Photo: Malte Kristiansen/Corbis

You wouldn’t think Björk would come up during a panel discussion about Mad Men, but that’s just what happened at the Film Independent at “LACMA: A Tribute to Mad Men,” when Matthew Weiner and Jon Hamm chatted about the season-five finale episode “The Phantom.” The episode ends with Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice” playing over a gorgeous tracking shot.

The song became a hit when the Nancy Sinatra version was used in the 1967 James Bond film of the same name. Weiner noted that he almost used Björk’s cover of the song in the season-one pilot, and when the audience laughed at this notion, he said, “You can laugh. It’s amazing.” Jon Hamm quickly jumped in: “Björk was originally going to be Peggy. You laugh — she’s amazing.” 

Weiner explained why he waited to play the song in season five:

We were listening to this all the time, and I thought I could use this at the end of the show. And then I had this idea that I should save this and the whole James Bond aesthetic to when it started happening (1967). James Bond was pretty deep in the culture. One of the things they attribute to the success of James Bond – movie people anyway — Dr. No [came out] right around the time of the Cuban missile crisis. There were so many great things about James Bond, but this song, “You Only Live Twice”… I wanted to wait for it to be in that period.”

Watch the full ending of the season-five finale with Nancy Sinatra’s song playing:

And Björk’s cover: