Journey’s 1981 rock song “Don’t Stop Believin'” will forever be associated with “The Sopranos” series finale, and fans of the HBO series has the crew’s disdain for the single to thank for that. Speaking to Marc Maron on the “WTF” podcast (via The Hollywood Reporter), “Sopranos” creator David Chase remembered his crew’s hostile reaction to his pitch for Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” to close out the Emmy-winning series. Chase said one crew member told him: “Don’t do that! Ugh. Fuck.”
“I didn’t know Journey was the answer,” Chase told Maron about the process of choosing “The Sopranos” series finale song. “In pre-production [for the final season], there was going to be a song at the end [Tony] was going to play in the jukebox. I was in the scout van with the department heads…and I had never done this before. I said, ‘Listen, I’m going to talk about three songs that I am thinking about for ending the show.’”
Chase previously revealed that Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” was one of the final contenders for “The Sopranos” series finale. The creator opted for Journey because of the passionate response by his crew.
“They went, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ, no. Don’t do that! Ugh. Fuck.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s it. That’s the one,’” Chase said. “I wasn’t saying that just to throw it in their face. That was kind of my favorite and it got a reaction of some kind. So I can make this song lovable, which it had been.”
The last scene of “The Sopranos” runs nearly five minutes and is scored entirely to “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The music plays as Tony Soprano’s family meets him at a diner for dinner, but other suspicious-looking patrons at the diner may or may not be there to put a hit on Tony. The tension escalated as Tony’s daughter, Meadow, frustratingly tries to park her car outside of the diner. The uplifting Journey track acts as a counterpoint to the drawn out tension onscreen. The song is cut short when the screen cuts to black with Tony’s fate up in the air.
Chase is returning to the world of “The Sopranos” with the upcoming prequel movie “The Many Saints of Newark.” The film launches in theaters and HBO Max on October 1.