12 February 2014

News Flash

News flash: Tony did not choose Journey
06/20/2007, 11:42 AM #

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First of all, let me say that i'm sorta stunned (and even a tad chagrined :-) that I'm still here. As someone just yesterday (raymundo, i think it was), "I think I'm finally 'out' and then something someone says pulls me back in again" ...
eh, oui... And actually, "all due respect" goes to Mattzollerrseitz cuz it's "new info" amid this amazingly Pinkertonian search ongoing which surfaced on his blog -- which i'll reference in a minute that suddenly makes my wheels churn again, afresh ... Was literary analysis back in English 204 ever this prolongedly engaging? ...
anyway... I write for the moment to point out that one of our collective lines of reasoning to date is based on a viewer assumption so kind of basic and also so blatantly wrong ...
Bottom line: Tony, definitively, did NOT choose Journey as his jukebox selection. Someone else in the restaurant [well, besides Chase, of course] had chosen it before his choice (I even think at the time of the episode I assumed that and then, myself, forgot that in the hubbub over the choice of "Don't Stop Believin'" ... To me at the time, I think I assumed it started too soon after the end of Little Feat's song and too soon after T popped in his coins to seem like his choice was already "up" but then I conveniently forgot that immediate impression amid all the post-hoc analysis...
What brought me back to it was the following post on matt's blog by someone named beale, which i just read this morning:
Beale said...
To add a probably worthless piece to the puzzle-solving aspect of this, I haven't seen anyone mention the fact that "Don't Stop Believing" is *not* the song Tony picked. It's K5 on the juke, and while Tony's hand obscures the exact number he pushes after K, it's clearly something lower than 5. More likely he would have picked one of the last two songs he looked at, either "I've Gotta be Me" or "A Lonely Place," the selection codes of which are not visible.
Either one of those titles would be fitting for Tony's state of mind at the time in completely different ways, but I kind of like the idea of him picking "A Lonely Place," with the jukebox responding with its answer in a kind of cosmic musical dialogue.
WELL. That made me think. I, as usual (but not always), decided to not take this as gospel either and checked it out myself.
Sure enough, T absolutely pushes the farthest button to the right on the top row -- meaning the 10th and last page of the juke box list (page "K" - tabletop juke boxes skip the letter "I" so the 10th page is "K").
It's not clear what button he chooses for song # on the bottom row, as beale notes, but it does seem to be a lower # than 5, more like about 3, maybe 4 at the highest.
What we see for sure - and what beale also has wrong -- is that the Journey songs are NOT on the last page and thus cannot be K5 or another other "K" page songs. Tony previously, in one sustained shot focused on the jukebox, flipped backwards from the page with "This Magic Moment" to where Journey's two songs were on a previous right-side page, meaning that the letter to choose for the Journey songs would, at the highest, be "H," i.e., the third button from the right on the top row, not "K."
[I know, isn't this micro of an analysis a tad silly? I can't believe I'm putting my Ph.D. to this good use :-)! but here I am ... whole-hog into it ...
And, ohhh, the tribute to Chase (what a storyteller and clever-as-a-fox filmmaker!), speaking now more broadly about the episode, that he could have pulled off a finale which, 10 days later, people are still debating the meanings of and unearthing new 'facts' about! Has this EVER happened before? Not on TV, I dare say... ]
Finally, back to what beale does again have right, is that Tony indeed stops his song search - the last we see - on the two Tony Bennett songs, which the camera gives us NO indication for as to what page they are on, cutting back to them from a Tony-POV-shot to the door, which at least allows the possibility that they are on the last page, K, unlike the Journey songs which cannot be on page K.
And, as beale notes, it makes total sense that any song selector keeps the page up - last page turned to - while making selection, always cautious as song-choosers are, to make sure they're pushing the right buttons...
Therefore, we are left with Tony in fact choosing definitely NOT Journey and probably either of the two Tony Bennett songs last in his focus that we know of -- I've Gotta Be Me or A Lonely Place (which look to be #s 3 and 4 on the page)
It's someone else in the restaurant [ahem - Chase] who has chosen "Don't Stop Believin'" that just "happens" to come on as Carmela is entering and indeed then presumably evokes for them the echoes of their early family-founding years together which you talk about, raimundo, but NOT because Tony himself chose it. That should be factored in (or out) of the equation.
Why would Chase have done this? Have Tony choose a song that in fact we never hear?
Well, for the answer to THAT piece of the puzzle, i am forced (eek) to quote from none other than Fox News, where I found the following background tidbit:
Tony Soprano Finally Beats Tony Bennett
For years, Tony Bennett refused to allow his songs in “The Sopranos.” Did you know that? Tony’s manager son Danny Bennett tells me that every season, David Chase’s office would call to ask permission for a Bennett recording.
“And we always turned them down,” Danny says. “My dad felt that the show was demeaning to Italians.”
A couple of times, Chase worked in references to Tony Bennett, Danny recalled with a smile. “When Tony was shot, Carmela brought him Tony’s box set in the hospital. She said, 'These are his favorite songs.'"
But the songs were not heard.
And then, in Sunday night’s finale, a permanent impression of Tony Bennett: Tony Soprano flips through the juke box on the diner table, and finds a single: “I’ve Gotta Be Me,” backed with “A Lonely Place.” It was released in 1969.
“It was a real single,” Danny Bennett says. Indeed, there’s a long lingering close-up. But Tony couldn’t pick either one, Danny says, and Chase knew it. Danny Bennett has a theory. “David Chase put those there, but since he couldn’t have either song, he knew Tony couldn’t choose them.”
The other choice Tony Soprano lingers on is Heart’s record, “Magic Man.” But Danny points out, “It was “Magic Man (Live). The ‘live’ part is important. And he didn’t choose that one either.”
Of course, Soprano picked Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” And six days after a TV show went off the air, we are still talking about it. I am surprised that so many people didn’t understand that when a TV show or movie cuts to black, and there’s silence, death is indicated. That’s it. This is one of the oldest conventions of filmed drama. The Sopranos, I must tell you, are gone. They are not coming back, except in syndication.
Note that Fox also got it wrong in claiming that "Soprano picked Journey..."
But if the point that Tony Bennett would not allow his songs on the show reveals yet again just how clever Chase is. He gets in the 'fact' of Tony's love of Tony Bennett''s songs by having Tony choose, as the final music "choice" of the entire series, one of two Tony Bennett hits from 1969, when Tony S would have been 10 yrs old, but we never actually hear them, cuz some other patron's music choice comes up before T's and we "blackout" prior to whichever choice it was that T made ...
I couldn't find lyrics to "A Lonely Place" on the web but here, for reference, are the ones to what seems to be have "K3" on the jukebox and likely the one T chose, which thereby would also seem to warrant some reflection (as to Chase's final message re Tony) alongside the fact that we definitely have to stop saying that Tony "chose" the music Don't Stop Believin'. While Chase chose that music, Tony did not...
...as copied from a Sammy Davis Jr. lyrics website (he having made the song popular some years before Tony Bennett's cover of it):
I've Gotta Be Me Lyrics by: Chart Activity (?)
Whether I'm right or whether I'm wrong Whether I find a place in this world Or never belong
I gotta be me, I've gotta be me What else can I be but what I am
I want to live, not merely survive And I won't give up this dream of life That keeps me alive
I gotta be me, I gotta be me The dream that I see Makes me what I am
That faraway prize, a world of success Is waiting for me if I heed the call I won't settle down, won't settle for less As long as there's a chance That I can have it all
I'll go it alone, that's how it must be I can't be right for somebody else If I'm not right for me
I gotta be free, I've gotta be free Daring to try, to do it or die I've gotta be me
I'll go it alone, that's how it must be I can't be right for somebody else If I'm not right for me
I gotta be free, I've just gotta be free Daring to try, to do it or die I gotta be me

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