You’d be hard-pressed to find a more iconic few minutes of television than the last scene of the The Sopranos, but according to the show’s creator, one of its most memorable qualities was almost totally different: David Chase just revealed that he considered several other songs before landing on Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’,’ which means he almost certainly could’ve been talked into using ‘Love Gun’ by KISS instead.
According to Ultimate Classic Rock, that definitely seems like something that could’ve happened. During a recent guest appearance on the Talking Sopranos podcast, Chase was asked about the song choice for that final scene, and he gave some amazing insight into the decision-making process.
Having narrowed it down to three songs – ‘Don’t Stop Believin’, Al Green’s ‘Love and Happiness,’ and one other he couldn’t recall – Chase went to his production crew to ask their opinion. When everyone unanimously agreed that he should not use ‘Don’t Stop Believin’,’ that’s when he knew it was the right choice:
“The third one was ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ and everyone was like, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ, no!’ – it got a reaction. And I had always – I shouldn’t say it, but I had always considered that song a guilty pleasure. I always liked that song. But other people think it’s, I don’t know, a corny ‘80s tune.”
Damn. To know that David Chase was open to using other songs in those closing moments is so awesome, but at the same time, it’s pretty heartbreaking. If only David had a better, more well-rounded group of buds around besides the production crew he talked to (who 100% dropped the ball here), the showrunner probably could’ve been convinced to pick a way sicker song that gets everyone ten times more amped, like Love Gun by KISS.
It’s a scene that’s etched into every TV super-fan’s mind: Tony sits in a diner booth, and as he waits for his family to arrive for dinner, he combs through he jukebox before selecting the 80s-megahit, ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.’ From there, it’s a masterclass in suspense building. The doorbell jangling. The man in the Members Only jacket. Meadow struggling to park. And, of course, Journey blasting through our speakers. But what if instead of Steve Perry’s pristine vocals building to a crescendo, we instead heard Paul Stanley screaming at us, commanding with authority, “You pull the trigger on my love gun”?
‘Don’t Stop Believin’ is definitely a fine tune, but when you zoom out a bit and really think about how David Chase had such an open mind about it, it’s hard not to think, like, “How did he miss Love Gun by KISS? Has he ever even heard Love Gun by KISS? Has he heard it played really loud through big-ass speakers? Why didn’t him and his friends play that song when they were all hanging out and chilling?”
Even more than Love Gun being such a cool song to hear, the lyrics fit perfectly, too:
I really love you, baby
I love what you’ve got
This could be interpreted as the viewers talking directly to Tony Soprano, a character that audiences grew to love, in good times and in bad.
Let’s get together
We can, get hot
And these lines that immediately follow could be the audience referring to Sunday nights, when viewers would sweat it out in suspense while watching Tony wrestle with his own morality. Thematically, it fits like a glove — especially when compared to the nonsense that Journey was singing about, which honestly made no sense at all and never did.
While it’s definitely a tough pill to swallow knowing just how badass ‘Love Gun’ by KISS would’ve been in the final scene of The Sopranos, it’s still insanely cool to hear that it was close to even being on the table. Here’s to hoping David Chase learns more about KISS, and treats us to more awesome trivia like this in the future!