I 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.