The Mad Men Christmas office party in season 4 offered up a conga line for which I wrote “Christmas Conga”. Who doesn’t love Joan in this dance?
And notice all the small details! Bar carts – love ’em.

Surely, holiday office parties are nothing like this one here at Sterling-Cooper,
but if you could, wouldn’t you go back just to have a drink with them?

It’s easy to get caught up in the nostalgia of television shows, but the truth is, workplace holiday parties have changed over the years. The stiff, formal affairs of the past have given way to more relaxed and inclusive celebrations. While the idea of a conga line might seem cringeworthy to some, it’s worth remembering that the most important part of any holiday office party is not the specific activities or even the drinks, but the chance to bring people together and celebrate the season.

That being said, there’s no denying that Mad Men did a great job of capturing the festive spirit of the holidays. From the kitschy decorations to the festive outfits, it’s hard not to feel a twinge of envy for those long-ago office parties. But even as we look back on the past, it’s important to remember that the present is pretty great too.

So cheers to all the holiday office parties, past, present, and future!

And here’s to you Joan Holloway!

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Check out more Mad Men Music:

Mad Men "Out of Town"

Someone recently asked me to write and arrangement of my “Sally’s Story” which was used at the end of Mad Men’s Season 3 Premier, “Out of Town”. So when I went back to find the show I stumbled upon this nice review by Colin Hart in which, near the end he has this to say:

The episode also features a great original score by composer David Carbonara, especially in the scenes that bookend the hour. The strings are reflective, and carry a distinct Irish tone.

Colin Hart at

What’s very true in that statement is the phrase, ” distinct Irish tone”. The producer asked me to compose a theme reminiscent of the 1930’s depression era incorporating an Appalachian sound representing Don Draper’s childhood farm. The instrumentation I used was:

But I think my love for Irish music may have gotten in the way. Well, let’s say it just took over the process, and the piece ended up writing itself. One comment in the YouTube video comments section nailed it with this:

Reminds me of Appalachia…Irish roots…

“Irishgrl” on Youtube

And Like many “themes” that I came up with, this one never got used again in the series. I had originally titled this theme “The Whitman Family Farm Theme” as I had planned on using it in more than just the one episode, but the series didn’t avail itself to more “life on the farm”. So, at least we have this cue playing through the end credits. On my album, Mad Men On The Rocks, I incorporated this piece with another cue to make a longer album track, but in the YouTube clip below it stands on its own.

So thank you “Irishgrl”, spot on! And thank you Colin Hart for the kind words. You can also check out the album release of this piece on the usual music streaming services as well.

You may also be interested in “Pacific Coast Highway”, watch here!

Here’s a look at David Carbonara’s song Babylon in episode 6 from season 1 of Mad Men, which was also named “Babylon” and was originally aired on August 23rd, 2007. Adapted from Don McLean’s version and based on Psalm 137 (more here).

David Carbonara in Babylon

It was the first on-camera song that I produced for the series Mad Men, and I got a cameo appearance to boot😎

Lyrics to david carbonara’s babylon

By the waters
The waters
Of Babylon
We lay down and wept
And wept
For thee Zion
We remember
Thee remember
Thee remember
Thee Zion

What they say, (from Wikipeida)

The episode was received very positively by critics. Alan Sepinwall, writing for New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger, praised its focus on the show’s female characters, and in particular the progression of Peggy’s story.[1] Andrew Johnston, writing for Slant Magazine, considered it the show’s “most entertaining” episode to date, and wrote that its ending “beautifully demonstrates the level of insight that makes Mad Men so special.”[2]

In December 2013, Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club gave the episode a full “A” grade, writing retrospectively:[3]

The episode includes the first major story for Joan, a triumph for Peggy, and a minor but hugely important story point for Rachel. It features Midge for a brief time, and it gives us a taste of both Betty’s view of the world (which seems haunted by her fear that her looks will fade) and the glimmerings of what relationship she has with Sally. It’s the first episode of the show that functions more or less as a guided tour of the women of Mad Men, and that’s a mode that the show would return to at least once per season for as long as it ran […] They’re all struggling toward Utopia, a good place yet also a place that cannot be.

Mad Men’s Babylon, in 3 sentences

The Agency is looking to land an advertising contract to promote tourism to Israel. Don and his team try to come up with a theme but know so little about the country that they’re stumped. So Don calls Rachel Menken to see if she has any ideas. Roger Sterling is getting tired of sneaking around with Joan Holloway and suggests she should get her own apartment but she knows better. Peggy comes up with an advertising concept during a testing session for a new line of lipsticks and she’s subsequently asked to write copy.

one Quote:

Don Draper: Utopia.
Rachel Menken: Maybe. They taught us at Barnard about that word, ‘utopia’. The Greeks had two meaning for it: ‘eu-topos’, meaning the good place, and ‘u-topos’ meaning the place that cannot be.

On Spotify: David Carbonara’s Babylon

David Carbonara’s Babylon on Spotify