Dave on Demand | A Sopranos 'Journey'

Posted: June 16, 2007

'What song is that, Dad?"

I was sitting under a tent last week with family members after my son's high school graduation when he asked about the classic rock tune that was playing during his class video.

I listened to the chugging intro and pegged the band as Journey but misidentified the title as "On and On." After a few bars I corrected myself, "It's called 'Don't Stop Believin'."

So it was eerie when, two nights later, the same vintage power ballad provided the final notes for The Sopranos.

Pretty cheesy choice for a series that always has been canny in its use of music. Just consider what other bands were in that episode: Vanilla Fudge (fitting, because the big rumor about the Fudge back in the '60s was that the Mafia strong-armed the group onto the charts), Bob Dylan and (when Tony first sat down in Holsten's) Little Feat.

My favorite Sopranos musical moment came a year ago when the Stones' muzzy "Moonlight Mile" played as Carlo drove up to Connecticut to dispose of Dom's head.

While I found the use of Journey as the showstopper curious and a little disappointing (except for anyone collecting royalties on Journey's Greatest Hits, which had reached No. 57 on amazon.com by Tuesday afternoon), it could have been worse. The Sopranos could have gone out playing Boston's "More Than a Feeling."

More oldies. Speaking of good music, the jaunty season opener of Rescue Me used one of my favorite songs for the fire company's first conflagration: The B-52s' "Dance This Mess Around."

Other nice touches: Tommy's defense against arson and insurance fraud charges amounted to a long, detailed recounting of an episode of Meerkat Manor. And his objection to his daughter's new boyfriend, a 26-year-old rock singer: "Do you know how old that is in rock-singer years? He's like the Clint Eastwood of rock music."

The dog ate my homework. Did you catch The Late Show on Tuesday? They had Tony Danza in the wings in case David Letterman couldn't go on as host.

The wobbly Hoosier had had his nose rebroken that day by a doctor so it would set correctly. The original break, he informed us, came from horsing around with his toddler.

Much as I love Letterman, I'm afraid we have to regard this story with the same skepticism we heaped on Paula Abdul's explanation that she had broken her nose tripping over her Chihuahua. Come on, Dave, a 3-year-old busted you up?

Why can't today's celebrities just be straight with us? Or at least come up with plausible alibis?

Snake-oil technology. Have you seen these Verizon commercials with the little kid who is awestruck by the fiber-optics installer? (Try: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JISrB-QWm3c.) After a bunch of technical gobbledygook, the Verizon guy brags, "It's true QAM!"

Say what? Would that be short for quadrature amplitude modulation? Does the kid know what that means? Do I know what it means? Is this a new sales technique: baffle the consumer with obscure terminology?

"Honey, I'm calling for FIOS service today. I have absolutely no idea what that guy is talking about so it must be good."

Casting news. Boston Legal just announced that it's adding John (Night Court) Larroquette to a cast that already includes William Shatner, Candice Bergen and James Spader.

Let the battles for camera time begin. I can't wait to see the new season of the show I am now calling Night of a Thousand Hams. It's going to be true qam.

Contact TV editor David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http:// go.philly.com/daveondemand.

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