If you were surprised by the “Sopranos” series-ending cliffhanger, just imagine how show creator David Chase was feeling just days before the finale aired: He still had not received permission to use Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” in the show’s controversial final scene.
“The request came in a few weeks ago and it wasn’t until Thursday that it got approval, because I was concerned,” revealed former Journey singer Steve Perry on Tuesday (June 12). Perry and former bandmates guitarist Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain had to agree on the use of the song in the show, and though Perry said the trio don’t agree on much, the “Sopranos” denouement was one of the few times since Perry left the band in 1998 that the guys have shaken hands on something unanimously.
But first, Perry made Chase an offer he couldn’t refuse: He insisted on knowing what happens to the Soprano clan before signing off (see ” ‘Sopranos’ Creator David Chase Talks About Finale, Denies ‘Trying To Blow People’s Minds’ “ and “How Will ‘Sopranos’ Meet Its End? Silvio And Bobby Aren’t Talkin’ “ ).
“I was not excited about [the possibility of] the Soprano family being whacked to ‘Don’t Stop Believin’,” said Perry, who watched the show with glee Sunday night and again on Monday. “I told them, ‘Unless I know what happens — and I will swear to secrecy — I can’t in good conscience feel good about its use.’” The show’s producers made Perry promise to keep it under his lid, which he did, and then they spilled the beans on how the song was used and how the show ends, after which Perry signed off.
Interestingly, Cain — who wrote the song with Perry and Schon — told The Associated Press that he didn’t know how it would be used when they agreed to the licensing. He kept the fact that the song would be used in the show a secret even from his family.
“I didn’t want to blow it,” he told AP. “Even my wife didn’t know. She looked at me and said, ‘You knew that and you didn’t tell me?’ ”
“I can hardly put in words how good it makes me feel, to be honest with you,” said Perry about the pivotal role the song played, jokingly adding that he’s not nearly as “reclusive” as MTV News made him sound in a story that ran on Monday (see ” ‘Sopranos’ Is Latest To Keep The Faith In Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ ‘ “ ).
“There’s nothing more in my lifetime that I wanted than to be part of a band that wrote the kind of music we did when we were together. … When I saw ['The Sopranos'] last night, what I saw was the director pull back into the foundation that was there all along during the most important moment when all this chaos [is going on]. The song was, literally, cutting from lyric to lyric, from mother to son to James [Gandolfini] at the key moment and on [the lyric] ‘streetlight people,’ it pulls back with the cameras to reveal a streetlight and I said, ‘My God, this director [Chase] got it. He got the song!’ ”
When told that Chase revealed to the New Jersey Star-Ledger that “Don’t Stop” was the only song he wanted all along for the show capper, Perry said he wasn’t surprised. “I felt he must have heard the song enough that he wrote something that fit the lyrics,” Perry said. “The whole thing blew my mind.”