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‘The Sopranos’ ended with ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ because crew hated it

It was an ending only he believed in.

“The Sopranos” creator David Chase said he ended the series with the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’” simply because the show’s production crew despised the catchy earworm.

On the “WTF With Marc Maron” podcast on Monday, Chase shared how he first told them about his plan for James Gandolfini’s character, Tony Soprano, to close the series with a jukebox tune.

“I said, ‘Listen, I’m going to talk about three songs that I am thinking about for ending the show,’” he recalled telling them.

Those three tunes were Al Green’s “Love and Happiness,” another track that has since slipped from Chase’s mind, and the Journey song.

“I didn’t know Journey was the answer,” Chase admitted. But when he shared the three options with the crew, their reaction made it an easy call.

“‘Oh, Jesus Christ, no. Don’t do that! Ugh. F – – k,’” they replied, according to Chase. “And I said, ‘Well, that’s it. That’s the one.’

“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,” he continued. “So I can make this song loveable, which it had been.”

Turns out one of television’s most iconic endings came out of an exchange David Chase (far right) had with his crew.
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Chase added that multiple endings to the finale were filmed to discourage leaks, but he didn’t go into further detail, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Throughout the illustrious series, which spanned from the late 1990s to mid-2000s, Chase often used music to convey plot points in “The Sopranos.”

David Chase was known for his extreme attention to detail on "The Sopranos."
David Chase was known for his extreme attention to detail on “The Sopranos.”
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The show featured hundreds of songs that spanned from heavy rock — often played at the Bada Bing! strip club — to classical Italian, from artists like Frank Sinatra and other crooners, along with music from the likes of Van Morrison, Ella Fitzgerald, Steely Dan, Britney Spears, the Bangles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Annie Lennox and many more.

Now, 14 years later, it may be tough for fans to envision anything but “Don’t Stop Believin’” playing out Chase’s infamous blackout in the controversial finale, an episode titled “Made in America.”

Of course, the story of the Soprano family doesn’t just end there. Up next for Chase is the series prequel film “The Many Saints of Newark” — starring Gandolfini’s 22-year-old son, Michael, as a young Tony Soprano — which will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on Oct. 1.

Tony Sirico, David Chase, James Gandolfini and other cast and crew, winners of Outstanding Drama Series for "The Sopranos" at The 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
Tony Sirico (front row, from left), David Chase, James Gandolfini and other cast and crew accepted the award for Outstanding Drama Series for “The Sopranos” at the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 2004.
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The words “many saints” translate to “Moltisanti” — as in Dickie Moltisanti, Tony’s uncle (played by Alessandro Nivola, 49), who is a DiMeo crime family operative and a central figure of the movie, which revolves around Moltisanti’s influence over a coming-of-age Tony in the 1960s.

Michael Gandolfini recently said playing a young version of his father’s iconic character was “probably the toughest decision [he’d] ever had to make.

“I didn’t want to put pressure on myself to walk out of this feeling like I’d grown in terms of my feelings toward my dad,” Michael told Empire of his father, who died of a heart attack at age 51 in 2013. “I just wanted to be the best actor I could be, portraying Tony in the way David [Chase] wanted, scene by scene.”

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