THAT THING YOU DO! had to be a labor of love for Tom Hanks. After all, the guy not only wrote and directed the movie, he also acted in it and was one of the producers as well as one of the musical producers, too. And he wrote the lyrics and music for several of the film's songs. Juggling so many hats, one might think THAT THING YOU DO! wouldn't stand up well years after it was released. That assumption is wrong as can be illustrated just by listening to the movie's soundtrack.
The soundtrack of THAT THING YOU DO! includes all of the songs sung by The Wonders, the fictional one-hit wonders that the movie chronicles. But the album does much more than that. It doesn't so much as parody the music of the era as deliver a homage to it. Homages are so much different than parodies and thankfully, Tom Hanks understood that.
Anyway, some of my favorite songs from this delightful album include:
"That Thing You Do!"
"She Knows It"
"Hold My Hand, Hold My Heart"
"Voyage Around the Moon"
All in all, THAT THING YOU DO! includes some of the best fictional late 1950s/early 1960s songs to be seen and heard on screen. It's a delightful homage to the music of the era and a tribute to the genius of Tom Hanks.
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The early-'60s pop group The Wonders never existed outside ofThat Thing You Do, Tom Hanks' feature-film directorial debut--but a lot of bands like them sure did. If you've seen the movie, I defy you to resist the title song--a perfect pop confection that captures the musical spirit of the era (and the high spirits of the movie) with cleverness and glee. (The deadpan "historical" liner notes are priceless.) The first song, "Lovin' You Lots and Lots" (written by Hanks himself) is a hilariously awful example of the insipid "grown-up" pop Muzak of the mid-'60s (performed by the Ray Coniff-like "Norm Wooster Singers"), but the element of parody in these tracks is suffused with affection. And, dammit, these are some really catchy toe-tappers! In addition to some other Wonders hits (not the least of which is "Shrimp Shack," from their first movie appearance inWeekend at Party Pier), there's also a girl-group single ("Hold My Hand, Hold My Heart" by the Chantrellines); a teen hearbreak anthem ("My World is Over" by Diane Dane); "one of the seminal jazz recordings of 1958" ("Time To Blow," by Del Paxton) ... and much, much more!--Jim Emerson