This album is the original motion picture soundtrack of That Thing You Do!, a 1996 movie written and directed by Tom Hanks. Set in the summer of 1964, the movie tells the story of a fictional one-hit wonder rock band from Erie, Pennsylvania, called The Wonders, following their whirlwind rise to the top of the pop charts, and just as quickly, their plunge back to obscurity.
The movie features original music by Hanks, Adam Schlesinger, Rick Elias, Scott Rogness, Mike Piccirillo, Gary Goetzman and Howard Shore. The Wonders' rise to brief stardom on the strength of "That Thing You Do!", a song written as a wistful ballad but which becomes an uptempo rocker during the band's first performance at a talent show. Written and composed by Schlesinger, bassist for Fountains of Wayne and Ivy, and released on the film's soundtrack, the song became a genuine hit for The Wonders in 1996 (the song peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100, #22 on the Adult Contemporary charts, #18 on the Adult Top 40, and #24 on the Top 40 Mainstream charts). The track was nominated for the 1996 Golden Globe Award as well as the 1996 Academy Award for Best Original Song. Mike Viola, formerly of the Candy Butchers, provided the distinctive lead vocals for the Wonders.
In the film, the title song is referenced with "All My Only Dreams" as the B-side, but the actual 45 RPM single, released to record stores in North America, features "Dance With Me Tonight" as its B-side.
The soundtrack album (released under the Play-Tone name in conjunction with Epic Records) was also a hit, peaking at #21 on the Billboard Top 200. The CD artwork is a replica of the fictional Play-Tone label used in the movie, and the liner notes are done in a mockumentary style, as if the Wonders had been a real group and the events of the film had actually happened.
The song that plays during the film's opening credits, "Lovin' You Lots and Lots", is credited to the fictional Norm Wooster Singers but was actually written by Hanks. This song is a good-natured parody of Ray Conniff, Mitch Miller, and other practitioners of proto-muzak.
The tour and TV appearance are done in the authentic style of rock bands of the mid-1960s, including go-go girls, elaborate sharing of microphones, and formal clothing in various matching colors.
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