When The Wonder Years premiered in 1988, we met the Arnold family living amidst one of the rougher years in recent American history: 1968. While the show let the viewer know exactly what was happening in the news landscape of the time, it also focused on the lighter things, like Kevin and Winnie's first kiss. The audience actually got a lot out of this show: historical references, laughter, tears, awkward moments, entertainment, and plenty of music from that era... starting with the theme song that made Joe Cocker's "With A Little Help From My Friends" absolutely inseparable from the show:
The NYPL's Billy Parrott has now deconstructed the first season via songs in each episode—check that out here. Sadly, he notes that if you watch the show online now, the "sound-alike songs have replaced some of the originals in the streaming episodes online. The producers of the show were likely only able to secure the rights to the songs for the original broadcasts but not the subsequent releases. For example, most online episode guides show the song 'Foxy Lady' by Jimi Hendrix as having appeared in the episode 'Angel' (s.1 e.4). The song that is featured in that episode online is a generic knock-off done in the same style." Well, that's depressing.
And while there is some crossover (Judy Collins) in music from the first season of The Wonder Years and the most recent season of Mad Men, there's a surprising amount of diversity considering they both took place during the same year.