Warning: This article contains spoilers about the final episode of The Sopranos, which you can (and should) binge on HBO Max.
The very final episode of The Sopranos contains one of the most shocking and contested endings in television history — a note of ambiguity that was so sudden some HBO subscribers thought there was a technical glitch. But there’s one thing most people can agree on: Creator David Chase chose the perfect final song. The last scene is set entirely to Journey’s anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’” — a semi-tongue-in-cheek way to cap a show that was always funnier than its rep. But, Chase recently revealed, there was almost another, very different last song.
On a new episode of the Talking Sopranos podcast, which is hosted by two of the show’s stars, Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa — who played Christopher and Bobby “Bacala,” respectively — Chase was asked about how he landed on arguably Journey’s signature hit. Chase said he was driving around in a van with crew members, and he hit them with some of his choices. He had three. He can’t remember the second one. But the first, which was not picked, was [drum roll] “Love and Happiness,” by Al Green.
“Love and Happiness” is, of course, not a cheesy ’80s power ballad. It’s a silky, smooth, reflective number, revealing a contentment that James Gandolfini’s Tony never quite found. Thing is, Chase says, the crew members in the van weren’t hot for “Don’t Stop Believin’.” “Everyone went, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ, no!’” he recalled. “And I thought, ‘That’s the one.’”
So there you have it: Because people recoiled at this great show — the one that arguably launched the whole Second Golden Age of Television in which we (also arguably) still live — ending with Journey, Chase decided it should end with Journey. Even now Chase hasn’t fully flopped to its side. “I consider that song a guilty pleasure,” Chase said on the podcast. “I always liked that song. But other people think it’s, I don’t know, corny ’80s s*it.”
You can watch the full episode of Talking Sopranos below. The bit about the final song starts around the 42-minute mark.
And if you need a refresher on the Al Green great, here you go.
(Via Showbiz CheatSheet)