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I recently saw "That Thing You Do" again on DVD, the fictional story of the Oneders, later renamed the Wonders. It prompted me to buy the soundtrack, and what a delight it is.
"The Thing You Do" (15 tracks, 42 min.) brings us the 2 Wonders songs from the movie (title track, "Dance With Me Tonight") but also 3 other songs, giving us (according to the fictional liner notes) pretty much an idea what a Wonders' concert was like. The soundtrack gives us plenty of other fictional 1964-soundalike songs that simly work great ("She Knows It", "Voyage Around the Moon", and "Drive Faster" are among the highlights).
While it's true that Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger wrote the title track, even more noteworthy it that none other than Tom Hanks wrote or co-wrote 4 of the tracks on here, so the man obviously knew what he was doing when taking on this project (writing and directing the movie as well). Thanks for a great movie and a delicious soundtrack, Tom!
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on June 2, 2000
If the fictional Wonders' hit single "That Thing You Do," was the only cut on this soundtrack worthy of praise, it would be worth the disc's price. The title track is a brilliant invocation of mid-60s British-influenced American pop, worthy of having been a monster hit at the time of its fictional setting. But the soundtrack is so much more than a one-hit wonder. Tom Hanks, together with co-writers, singers and producers, has created a bevy of tracks that recreate the brilliance of that era's music even more keenly than the film recreates the look and feel. Few such fictional music projects have ever been this complete.

From the opening track, the Mitch Miller like "Lovin You Lots and Lots" by the Norm Wooster Singers, Hanks gives notice that he and his co-workers have internalized the era's vast array of musical styles. It's as if their heads are so full of this music that they can't help but sing it out loud. It's one huge loving nod to the music that populated the charts in the 60s -- perhaps the last gasp of truly varietous radio. Never again would such a wide range of sounds be heard on a single frequency, from the Dusty Springfield-esque vocals of Diane Dane and Shirelles-meet-the-Supremes singing of The Chantrellines, to the Frankie-and-Annette inspired beach tune of Cap'n Geech & The Shrimp Shack Shooters.

And amid all of this are The Wonders, a band that, despite the film's storyline, were anything but one hit wonders. The funky bassline of "Dance With Me Tonight" would have been home at any discoteque of the early 60s, and "I Need You (That Thing You Do)" is only the slightest notch less catchy than the title track. The 12-string strums and yearning harmonies catch every last ounce of emotion that fueled the best teen bands of the era. Topping it all off, Hanks and Co. add biographies for the fictional bands, making it nearly impossible to believe it's all made up. The film is good fun, but the soundtrack is a work of art.
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on February 18, 2005
I've recently gotten back into "That Thing You Do" after a few years of not watching the movie. I was crazy about it back in 1996 and saw it three times in the theater and saw it about a zillion more times on DVD. I purchased this soundtrack the day it was realeased which was a week before the movie came out and I fell so in love with it. I really wish this band had existed, I would have been such a fan. I am a real fan! Of course the title track is my favorite. I've heard it maybe a few hundred times and I still sing along and never get tired of the melody. My close second favorite is track #6 "I Need You (That Thing You Do)" which is as equally, if not even better, than the title track. Talk about an awesome song. I also like "All My Only Dreams" and "Voyage Around the Moon", but the entire soundtrack is awesome. It's been apart of my cd collection for almost 10 years now and I still love it. I have major respect for Tom Hanks for coming up with such a brilliant idea and concept.
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on November 7, 1998
That is what the drummer, "Shades" of the mythical rock band "The Wonders" says to the lead guitarist, when the guitarist asks"How did we get here?,"before the Wonders make their national television debut on a Sullivan-esque variety show. What happens next, is one of the happiest three minutes on film, as the Wonders perform their hit single, "That Thing You Do!" The movie captured the 60's so well, and the soundtrack is a terrific bonus! I put on this album, and get lost in the 60's. A smile instantly comes to my face as I remember the story of that pop band from Erie, Pennsylvania whose fate was changed by a replacement drummer . I love these guys, and they seem so real. I just wish they were. Go out and buy this CD...listen to it, and re-live Beatlemania!
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on July 7, 2001
Every genre of mid sixties rock n roll is repsented in this soundtrack. No song is a drirect rip-off of a real song, but each song is in a distinctive genre. The one thing that had to be done to enjoy the album is pretend all the songs are real vintage songs. That is what the album was trying to do, and acomplishes.
The title song, "That Thing You Do", is a Brittish Invasion type song, with an abolutly killer beat. "Little Wild One", "Dance With Me Tonight," "I Need You", and "All My Only Dreams," show the Wonders range. From the dance song to the slow song, and everything in between, are wonderful.
"She Knows It," has a differnt sound to it. It's more of a Ruber Soul type song. A bit more studio expirimentian went into it.
"Mr Downtown" sounds just like a TV theme song. You have to laugh while you listen to it. It's so funny. I debated about taking off a star for the song, but it was so funny and besides, it does sound like all the cop show theme songs anyway.
All the girl groups have a disitnce sound. It must be the clapping. Whatever it is, "Hold My Hand, Hold My Heart" has it.
"Voyage Around the Moon" is the perfect instrumental. It's like "Wipe Out". Same instrumental type song. What sixties collection would be complete without the breathy feamle singer? Fortunatly, this collection has "My World Is Over" The California sound, which is all about cars and surfing, is repreensted through "Drive Faster", The ultimate crusing song in my opinion.
If I haven't convinced you yet, here's more. I listen to this CD straight through without skipping any songs, becase they're all great. Also, I have to mention the liner notes. Any decent sixties CD has information about the groups and songs. Usually, the groups are real. In this case, the groups are not real, but you wouldn't know that from reading the liner notes. They further the allusion that the songs are artists are real. The CD its self looks a record, complete with the light green and light blue that were such a big deal that era.
To sum it up to a few words. Buy this CD, you will not be dissapointed.
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on November 28, 1999
Just great music from a great flick. Sure it is contrived and campy but what rock-n-roll wasn't from this period. It is great original music. They really capture the early to mid-sixties music feel here. The title track would have been a major hit without a doubt as would many of the others. I especially enjoy the inclusion of the Del Paxton hard bop tune called "Time To Blow." Anyone know who the actual musicians and vocalists were? Great stuff.
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VINE VOICEon November 20, 2007
Review no. 92. I've seen the movie many times but this was the first time I ever got to check out the soundtrack CD. Very good. Even if The Wonders had existed strictly on celluloid, here it really makes no difference. So, they went Monkees and Partridge Family on us. So what? Point is the music on this fifteen track disc is really great and uplifting to listen to. You get a few songs from other fictitious artists that made an appearance in the film like Freddy Fredrickson, the aging glamour girl Diane Dane, Captain Geech And The Shrimp Shack Shooters and of course drummer Guy Patterson's mentor Del Paxton. Whole thing seems to occur between spring and summer, 1964. I really dug "She Knows It" by Jimmy's post-Wonders band the Heardsman - you know where in the closing credits you see it noted that the Heardsmen had went on to record three gold albums for Playtone Records. Recommended.
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on April 27, 2001
This is a great soundtrack album. While the tone may have been intended to be tongue-in-cheek (right down to a jacket that provides bogus histories of the fictitious performers featured on the soundtrack), the music is still really good. The songs (a surprising number of them cowritten by Tom Hanks) purposesly emulate other artists. The Wonders and the Heardsmen are obviously influenced by the Beatles, the Chantrellines sound a little like the Crystals, and the Vicksburgs, had they really existed, probably would have owed their career to the Beach Boys. The point is that this soundtrack gives nothing if not variety, from the Davy Crockettish "Lovin' you Lots and Lots" to the lounge-singer style of Freddy Frederickson's "Mr. Downtown." The versatility of Hanks and the other songwriters is downright impressive. I heard somebody propose that Hanks's contributions were probably strictly lyrics rather than musical, but he also helped write the instrumental "Voyage Around the Moon" (performed by the Saturn 5, who sound a bit like the Ventures). My only complaint: Rather than an alternate version of the title song (the concert version being inferior to the "original" recording), I would have preferred to hear "I am Spartacus," the duet between Wonders drummer Guy "Shades" Patterson and his hero, jazz legend Del Paxton.
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on May 2, 2016
This was a good-feeling light hearted comedy which is basically suitable for all ages of viewers. Written and directed by Tom Hanks, based on the career of a fictional band "The Wonders". It allows you to watch their meteoric rise from winning a local talent contest to being a big time pop band. As it often occurs, fame goes to some of the band members heads, and it basically disintegrates... Basic synopsis, no plot spoilers! You'll find yourself wanting to buy the soundtrack -- which I did and love it.
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on July 26, 2015
The movie is a classic and the soundtrack is just as good. I'm not a soundtrack person as most are not good at all but this is one of my
favorite albums. Every song is catchy and sounds like it was made back in the golden age of rock and roll. It has pop Beatle's type rock
and rhythm and blues pop and jazz pop and beach surfing guitar music. Hanks wrote 2 tracks and they are the best! GET IT NOW!
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