That Thing You Do

Album: That Thing You Do soundtrack (1996)
Charted: 22 41

Songfacts®:

  • This was featured in the movie That Thing You Do, starring Tom Hanks as the manager of the fictional '60s pop band The Wonders. In the movie, the song becomes their breakout hit and makes the band a huge success with legions of teenage fans. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA
  • The song is about heartbreak and chasing after lost love - cliché '60s pop song material. The track also has a chipper sound, complete with bright guitars and harmonies, reminiscent of early Beatles.
  • Adam Schlesinger, bass player for Fountains Of Wayne, wrote this song. In a 2011 Songfacts interview with Schlesinger, he revealed how the track made its way into the movie: "That was a very long time ago. That was 1995 I think I first heard about it, or '96, and I was just starting out. I had a publishing deal as a writer and they told me about this movie - they said that they were looking for something that sounds like early Beatles. And they knew that that was an era that I liked a lot. So I just took a shot at it and got very lucky and they used the song."

    Schlesinger said he found he was more known for this song than Fountains of Wayne's hit single "Stacy's Mom."
  • Mike Viola from the band The Candy Butchers sang lead on this track. Adam Schlesinger was friends with Viola and had him sing on the demo. The movie's producers liked his sound and kept him for the film version. None of the actors in the movie actually played on the song.
  • In 1997, this was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards and Best Original Song at the Golden Globe Awards, but lost to Madonna's "You Must Love Me" from the film Evita on both occasions.
  • NSYNC, New Found Glory and The Knack have all covered this song.
  • The actors who played The Wonders staged an online watch party via Zoom of That Thing You Do on April 17, 2020 to raise money for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund and honor Adam Schlesinger, who died from the virus on April 1. They had reunited before, performing the title song at a April 25th, 2017 benefit at the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood.

Comments: 6

  • Brian from Boston, MaThis song is very similiar to Please please me by the Beatles in terms of chord progression.I remember hearing film critic Roger Ebert saying he was impressed by this song because the film had to have an original song that the filmgoers would believe could actually be a hit and this song was a hit.
  • Breanna from Henderson, NvGreat song but when you watch the movie you want it to just stop because they way over play this song.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyTom Hanks wrote the screenplay during long breaks while filming Forest Gump. He also directed the movie as a homage to 60's music he grew up with and as story of the "One Hit Wonders" of the period. Although the actors aren't actually playing and singing, Hanks insisted they learn all the correct chords so it would look authentic.
  • David from Broomall, PaI enjoy this song, and I feel that it is one of those fresh/refreshing 60's tunes...thanks, Adam S...
  • Dave from Liverpool, United Kingdomby the end of the film I wanted to beat my head on the wall to make this song go away.........
  • Jeff from Austin, Txgreat song by a great songwriter.
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