That Thing You Do (song)

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For the film that featured this song, see That Thing You Do!
"That Thing You Do"
Single by The One-ders
from the album That Thing You Do!: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
B-side "Voyage Around the Moon (The Saturn 5)" (cassette)
"Dance with Me Tonight" (45)
"All My Only Dreams" (fictitious 45 from the film)
Released September 24, 1996[1]
Format Cassette single, vinyl single
Genre Power pop
Length 2:46
Label Playtone/Epic
Writer(s) Adam Schlesinger

"That Thing You Do" is a 1996 song that appears in the film That Thing You Do! The song is performed by the fictional 1960s band The Wonders, who are the focus of the film.

In the film[edit]

In 1964, an Erie, Pennsylvania band named "The One-ders" (later known as The Wonders) goes from a college talent show to climbing up the Billboard charts thanks to the song "That Thing You Do". Written by guitarist/vocalist Jimmy Mattingly II, it was originally crafted as a ballad. During the performance at the talent show, drummer Guy Patterson produces a much more up-tempo beat and the rest of the band follow suit, turning the song into an upbeat, Beatles-esque rock number. The song is a hit with the audience, and they win the talent show. From there, the band is picked up by a local manager who helps them get more shows in the area, and eventually the song receives radio airplay. The band is then signed to Play-Tone Records, under Mr. White's guidance, and the song climbs up the Billboard Hot 100, starting at #93, then #71, #49, and #21. The following week, "That Thing You Do" climbs to #7, becoming the quickest charting song ever on Play-Tone Records. However, Jimmy walks out on the band before they can produce another record, so they eventually become one-hit wonders.

Early in the film, when Jimmy and Lenny are asking Guy to join them at the talent competition at the college, Jimmy mentions they'll perform a song he wrote. Lenny takes offense to that by slapping Jimmy on the arm. Jimmy begrudgingly corrects himself by saying, "We wrote." Later, when the vinyl 45 is officially released, the label states: Written by James Mattingly II. Later still, when being interviewed live on radio station KJZZ, Jimmy says of the song, "We wrote it in my garage back in Erie, PA".

In the film, the song is performed by James "Jimmy" Mattingly II on vocals and guitar, Leonard "Lenny" Haise on lead guitar, "T.B. Player" on bass (as a running gag, the bass player in the film is unnamed) and Guy "Shades" Patterson on drums. For their live performance of the song on The Hollywood Television Showcase, studio bassist Scott "Wolfman" Pell replaced T.B. Player on bass.

In the fictitious "mockumentary" liner notes from the soundtrack CD, "That Thing You Do" peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the summer of 1964.

In Reality[edit]

The song was written by Adam Schlesinger, the bassist of the alternative rock group Fountains of Wayne. Schlesinger did not expect his song to be chosen, but tried as "a personal exercise". Performers include Mike Viola on vocals with Schlesinger on backup vocals.[2]

The song was released as a single, and although not as successful as was depicted in the film, the track still did moderately well in the US, peaking at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100. (It also reached #22 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #18 on the Adult Top 40, and #24 on the Top 40 Mainstream chart.)[2]

The song was a bigger hit outside of the US, reaching #31 in Canada in December 1996,[3] and #22 on the UK Singles Chart in February 1997.[4] The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the 69th Academy Awards as well as Best Original Song at the 54th Golden Globe Awards, losing out on both occasions to Madonna's "You Must Love Me" (written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber) from the musical Evita.[5]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ That Thing You Do: The Wonders: Music
  2. ^ a b That Tune You Do- Writing The Music For THAT THING YOU DO
  3. ^
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 610. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ "Golden Globes, USA (1997)". IMDB. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  6. ^ Schadelbauer, Rick (September 1998). "Doug Fieger: The Circle Goes Back to the Beginning". Amplifier Vol. 3 No. 3. Archived from the original on 2006-10-27. Retrieved May 13, 2009. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Shaul, Aaron (February 2008). "Bubblegum Lemonade Ten Years Younger EP". Music Reviews. Ink 19. Retrieved May 13, 2009. 
  9. ^ Fringemunks website
  10. ^ Robbins, Caryn (December 31, 2014). "VIDEO: Pentatonix Pay Tribute to Tom Hanks with 'That Thing You Do' Performance on KENNEDY CENTER HONORS". Retrieved January 2, 2015.