The Wonders – That Thing You Do

This was a fictitious band playing the title song to the Tom Hanks movie “That Thing You Do.” It was a nice song with an early sixties feel. The song peaked at #41 in the Billboard 100 in 1996. I really liked the movie when it came out and couldn’t help but like the song also.

Adam Schlesinger, the bass player for Fountains Of Wayne, wrote this song. He said  “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.”

The Knack later covered this song.

From 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. 

The song is about heartbreak and chasing after lost love – cliché ’60s songwriting topics. The track also has a chipper sound, complete with bright guitars and harmonies, reminiscent of early Beatles.

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.

That Thing You Do

You, doin’ that thing you do
Breaking my heart into a million pieces, like you always do
And you, don’t mean to be cruel
You never even knew about the heartache
I’ve been goin’ through

Well, I try and try to forget you girl
But it’s just so hard to do
Every time you do that thing you do
And I, know all the games you play
And I’m gonna find a way to let you know that
You’ll be mine someday

Cause we, could be happy, can’t you see
If you’d only let me be the one to hold you,
And keep you here with me
‘Cause I try and try to forget you girl
But it’s just so hard to do
Every time you do that thing you do

I don’t ask a lot girl but I know one thing’s for sure
It’s the love I haven’t got girl
And I just can’t take it anymore (whoa!)
Cause we, could be happy, can’t you see
If you’d only let me be the one to hold you,
And keep you here with me

‘Cause it hurts me so just to see you go
Around with someone new
And if I know you, you’re doin’ that thing
Every day, just doin’ that thing
I can’t take you doin’ that thing you do

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

26 thoughts on “The Wonders – That Thing You Do”

  1. I’ve never seen the movie in its entirety, I should. Always liked Hanks’ work in that era and the bits of movie I’ve seen were good. What an odd song, a “fictitious” band with a real record and one from the 90s which found its way onto “oldies” stations by the early-2000s!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had 8 messages in my pending folder…and this was one of them… Yes from what I read all of them learned how to play somewhat…I’m not sure how good he is but yes he faked them well


      1. Go to the corner! I remember we called detention in high school the Rubber Room… I loved it…nice and quiet. I would be late to so many classes….
        There I go again…off the beaten path.


      2. Late…always late. When I started to drive. “Why were you late today Max?” oh a meteor hit my car. ..”ha ha that will be a demerit” Ok…
        After three you went to the rubber room. I’m better now…barely.
        Of course when something did happen for real…they didn’t believe me. Except once… I ran out of gas a mile from school. The guidance teacher told me…yea I saw you! I didn’t stop to ask…why she didn’t help.


      3. Well, I’ve never done that before… I somehow deleted your entire comment. I got up and must have pushed something. In the military, I know you could not be late for anything. The military probably would have done me good…dang it…there I go again. I’m trying to catch myself when I wander off.

        I remember the paddlings well. I was so scared of them and when I got one…they were not that bad…unless it was by a coach.

        I do remember saying you were a chatterbox in second grade. My problem was laughing and cutting up. I had my share also.


      4. Deleted what comment? I’m still looking at it, above. It says “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Was it in SPAM, again?

        The military would come get your ass and write you up. I don’t know about the other branches but, being late could get you Brig time in the Navy…AWOL. Back in the late 60s, Ken got 30 days in the Brig at Pensacola for being late back to Gulf Port, MS (Seabees). He was hitchhiking back & forth between MS & NC…mostly truckers (whole different world back then).

        Wow. We’ve had so many conversations, I’m forgetting what I’ve already told you. Hm. Apologies up front if I continue to repeat myself. Geez…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. No I deleted the chatterbox in second grade comment by mistake. It was in pending and after that it gave me a choice of “undo” and I didn’t click it fast enough.

        Yea the military doesn’t play. Hmm maybe that is the reason I didn’t join lol. A completely different world back then… 30 days….wow.

        No apology except from me because I’m the idiot that did it.


      6. Ok. I see that, now. The Reader in the browser still showed it. The phone app doesn’t show it.

        The military isn’t for everyone. It is the ultimate form of groupthink. There is a reason why Marines are called ‘jarheads’.

        No worries. I will probably do the same soon enough. 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The actually did reunite and play this song for real in 2017 except for one of them… they were taught how to play it and they went up on stage and pulled it off.


  2. WOW! I thought I was the only one who really dug this song! (For the record, I still have not seen the movie, and it is on my list of flicks to watch.) I remember hearing it on the radio and thinking that it sounded like something from the British Invasion that I had never heard before. I even thought it sounded very Beatle-ish.

    I never seemed to be able to find the soundtrack, but in a stroke of luck, I stumbled on the CD single in a used record store and scooped it up. It sat in my personal collection and on occasion I played it when I DJ’s for Veteran’s functions. When I bought my first iPod, the song was among many favorites that made the play list.

    Anyone with an iPod knows that you have songs that when they end, you immediately replay it. This song is one of many that I replay. If I had to categorize it – it would be a “feel good” song. Thanks for writing about it! Now …..where is my iPod?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get to see the movie soon…The song is great…funny hearing it on oldies channels in the early 2000s and it’s from the 90s that sounds 60s.

      It does have a really feel good sound. In the movie you will hear it over and over but that is alright…the more the better with this.

      I’m surprised like you were that other people remembered it as much…just a well written and played song.


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