Did David Chase Tell Journey’s Lead Singer What the Sopranos Ending Meant?

steve-perry.jpgI thought I was done writing about “The Sopranos,” but this is waaay too interesting to pass up:

Rocker STEVE PERRY refused to let THE SOPRANOS creator DAVID CHASE use his classic song DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’ in the mob show’s final scene until he knew the fate of the drama’s leading characters.
The ex-Journey frontman kept Chase waiting until three days before the long-awaited finale aired in America on Sunday (10Jun07).
Perry is a huge Sopranos fan and feared his 1981 rock anthem would be remembered as the soundtrack to the death of James Gandolfini’s character Tony Soprano – until Chase assured him that wouldn’t be the case.
Perry says, “The request came in a few weeks ago and it wasn’t until Thursday that it got approval, because I was concerned.
“I was not excited about (the possibility of) the Soprano family being whacked to Don’t Stop Believin’. Unless I know what happens – and I will swear to secrecy – I can’t in good conscience feel good about its use.”

From another version of the story:

The songwriters of Journey’s power ballad “Don’t Stop Believin”‘ were “jumping up and down” when they learned a few weeks ago it had been licensed for use in the final episode of “The Sopranos.” But even they couldn’t believe how it would prove so integral to one of the most memorable final scenes in television history.

“It was better than anything I would have ever hoped for,” said Jonathan Cain, Journey keyboard player, who watched at home with his wife and family.

Tony Soprano chose the song after flipping through a jukebox at a New Jersey restaurant where he dined with his family. The song played in the background as ominous characters flitted about and, right as Steve Perry was singing “don’t stop,” the HBO series did exactly that, for good. The ending infuriated some fans, amused others and intrigued all.

Cain, who wrote the song with Perry and Neal Schon, didn’t know how it would be used when they agreed to the licensing. Cain kept the fact that it was going to be in at all a secret, then watched the episode with his family.

“I didn’t want to blow it,” he told The Associated Press on Monday. “Even my wife didn’t know. She looked at me and said, ‘You knew that and you didn’t tell me?”‘

Journey released the song in 1981, and it reached No. 9 on the singles chart. It has taken a life of its own since then, often reflecting the attitude people had toward Journey itself. “Don’t Stop Believin”‘ brings back fond memories for many but is unbearably cheesy for others.

It’s easy to imagine Tony Soprano, back in the day, taking a young Carmella to a Journey concert.

What does this do to your particular pet theory about the show’s ending?

What song do you think Chase would have used if Steve Perry said no?

Do you think Chase was so committed to using “Don’t Stop Believin'” that he changed the ending to suit Steve Perry?

*UPDATE: I’ve partially replaced the linked story with a different version. Apparently, the one I quoted, which I found here, was edited erroneously to make it seem as if Steve Perry was the one whose wife said, “You knew that and you didn’t tell me?” It was the song’s co-writer Jonathan Cain who describes the scene with his wife, as the second story I’ve linked to now has it.


10 thoughts on “Did David Chase Tell Journey’s Lead Singer What the Sopranos Ending Meant?

  1. Don,

    Consider what a big music fan David Chase is.

    He ended the episode, and the series, with a sudden cutoff. That’s a technique taken from the Beatles, specifically the end of “I Want You,” from the Abbey Road album. It’s also been used elsewhere — Todd Rundgren and Frank Zappa come to mind.

    I wouldn’t count on a movie. My guess is, as of now, Chase does not want to do one. He might change his mind if he gets a good story idea, but if that ever happens, it’ll be years from now. I wouldn’t blame Chase for being out of gas with respect to these characters. It’s been almost 90 hours!

    The “real finale” is what you saw. If you take the last four or five episodes together, you can see they actually resolved all the important plot lines and relationships. The stuff they left dangling, I think was left dangling deliberately.

    The most important thing that got resolved was, “Will therapy cure Tony Soprano of being a criminal? Will his innate goodness triumph over the criminal mindset that is the source of so much of his unhappiness, depression, guilt and panic?” The answer is no. From here on in, he will be a totally conscienceless killer and thief, and no one will stop him except another killer. Melfi failed, Carmela gave up, and the kids have no influence. Even the FBI agent who spent the first five seasons trying to indict him is now an enabler.

    It’s a bleak ending, but it’s an ending.

  2. Steve Perry is not married, therefore, does not have a wife. That quota was from Jonathon Caine. If your going to copy something copy it correctly. And people in the press what to know why people like me don’t trust them. Even I was able to search out the truth and find out you put together 2 different stories to come up with one.

  3. Ladylove, apparently you’re right. If you click on my first source, you’ll see that this error came from my source. The version of the story that I linked to must have edited down the story to put the Cain quote in Perry’s mouth. I’ve corrected it by lopping off this part of the story and posting another story that has the Cain quote properly attributed.

  4. In the end the judgment of Tony’s came which he worried about. But it came from himself long before the show started and it was fulfilled at that final (beginning) moment. By letting go of the psychological grip of his ego-’made’ reality he submits himself for sacrificing. He affirms his true identity and reaches towards being truly awake. Truly alive within his son. And thus we finally see the real Tony, his true spirit. It is as if he sacrificed who he thought he was to fulfill his ultimate true purpose as a father. Its kind of like the movie that was playing when Tony visited Sil in the hospital: Little Miss Sunshine. You know, the movie with the little girl running to get on that big yellow car (Almost like trying to get back on the bus our mother’s are driving. Hint, Hint). You know, the movie where all the hopeless and depressed family members find their purpose by sacrificing their lives for that little girl. And thus the great metaphors continue to point us to the ultimate reality.

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  5. I had no problem identifying the real wife, that said, “you knew it was going to happen and you didn’t tell me?” JC wife, any true Perry fan knows that Steve is not married, he always said that he wasn’t and marriage wasn’t for him. Music dominates his life and there is no room for a relationship. Although he does have them. I love Steve and he is an amazing singer, the best that ever graced a microphone and I quote that from Randy Jackson. The ending was awesome, The Sopranos was a great show, thank you Mr. Chase for your genius and for choosing that song, it was a great ending and Mr. Perry I am sure is pleased with it also. And may I say something that you can relay to Steve, we miss him terribly. Thank You.

  6. we meet at the last end of late spring tour in ventra in 1982…. i was the only womana hand u reached out for that night. seurity guy said …dont leave. he wants to see u after the show..but i had a home and life here….i just couldnt walk away…i beleave in my heart he is my soul mate…….truley

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