The series finale of The Sopranos, “Made in America”, aired on June 10, 2007. I was 14-years-old and I had never seen an episode of The Sopranos, and yet, despite that fact, I tuned into the finale that fateful Sunday night. THAT’S how big of a deal The Sopranos was. And like everyone else who tuned in, when Tony glanced up and my screen cut to black, I thought my TV was broken. Alas, as we now know, none of our TVs were broken as series creator David Chase instead decided to roll out one of the most iconic endings in the history of the medium.
In addition to the infamous cut-to-black, the other aspect of the final moments of The Sopranos etched into pop culture folklore was the song choice, as Tony decided to toss on Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” as he and the family flipped through the menu at Holstein’s.
The moment was so ubiquitous within pop culture that following the airing of “Made in America”, “Don’t Stop Believin'” experienced a massive revival, with its sales on iTunes growing by a whopping 482%.
It’s now been close to 15 years since The Sopranos went off the air, and while fans think they’ve finally wrapped their heads around what happens to Tony at that moment, the relevance of “Don’t Stop Believin'” has remained uncertain. Until now.
During an interview with Marc Maron, series creator David Chase detailed why he chose to use Journey’s hit song in the series’ final moments, revealing that he did so because of the reaction he got from his crew when suggested it:
“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. Fu–.”
The creator opted for Journey because of the passionate response by his crew.
“They went, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ, no. Don’t do that! Ugh. F–k.’ 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.”
“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.’” [IndieWire, via WTF with Marc Maron]
Fans of The Sopranos will be able to return to David Chase’s world of North Jersey mobsters when The Many Saints of Newark hits theaters and HBO Max on October 1.
The Many Saints of Newark stars Michael Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, Jon Bernthal as Giovanni “Johnny Boy” Soprano, Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano, Vera Farmiga as Livia Soprano, Billy Magnussen as Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri, John Magaro as Silvio Dante, Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti, and Leslie Odom Jr, Ray Liotta, and Joey Diaz in undisclosed roles. The Alan Taylor-directed film will hit theaters and HBO Max on Friday, October 1.