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ira

"That Thing Raspberries Do"

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ira   

I just saw "That Thing You Do" for the umpteenth time. The Cable TV plot synopsis was something like "Rock band from the Midwest rises to fame propelled by a catchy single and a savvy record executive".

The band is from Erie Pa. They are compared to the Beatles. Their gigs are in Pittsburgh-where the mikes don't work-Columbus Ohio,and then the "BIG TIME"-"A State Fair Tour With the Playtone Records Cavalcade Of Stars" -on a bus.

Three Questions-if you don't mind. Eric did you like this movie? Though fiction-and set in 1964-did any of it strike a chord with you? Was it accurate re the business and band tensions many groups endure?-Thanks-Ira.

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MAM   

Yes indeedy, a fictional story, BUT based on an actual band that was from Erie, The Epics. Tom Hanks was doing summer theatre somewhere around here and caught the band at a gig. They did a great job of making the downtown scenes look just like 1964 Erie. One of my favorite movies.

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ira   

And I forgot that "Charlize Theron" plays the detatched girlfriend who falls for her dentist.-Ira.

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Trindy   

Tom Hanks used to perform with the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival back in the '70s before he was on "Bosom Buddies," which was his big break in show biz. It was then that he became a Cleveland Indians fan. People around these parts pretty much know that story.

I have seen and liked the movie and always felt it was very easy to "buy" as a real story. I don't know what downtown Erie looked like in 1964--I only saw it a few times years later, back when the bus station was still the old Greyhound station they had down there. (I clearly recall two gigantic twisty-tube sculptures, one red and one blue, that were placed there for the Bicentennial. Are they still there?) But I could believe the story 100 percent.

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Brioohs   

Re: the song "That Thing You Do" - yes, written by FoW's Adam Schlesinger and sung by the incredibly underrated Mike Viola (Candy Butchers). And I'll bet that it's Kenny Aronoff playing drums on that tune, as he's listed as part of the musicians involved in the soundtrack.

Reportedly there were a lot of songs titled "That Thing You Do" that were submitted before Hanks & company chose Schlesinger's. The others included submissions by Dwight Twilley and The Rubinoos' Tommy Dunbar. It wouldn't surprise me if the song "I Need You (That Thing You Do)" that was also in the film may have been yet another possible choice. But in the end, I think they picked the best song, as it stands up to the multiple plays throughout the film's running time and you still want to hear it again!

I love that movie. And I felt that they did a remarkable job creating the musical pastiches that fit the early 60s period. And they even got much of the gear right (old Fender amps, etc.) in the scenes.

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'That Thing You Do' would be on my 10 movies to own & watch if stranded on a desert island (with electricity, a TV and DVD player...LOL). Like 'Pet Sounds' was required listening to McCartney's kids, I will make 'That Thing You Do' required viewing to mine (when they're old enough!)

At 41, I was too late for the Beatles-sound craze (jangly 12 string Rickenbackers with three part harmonies). But that movie paints a wonderful picture as to how America seems to be remembered in that era, and the 'sounds' that went with it.

Not to mention the drummer's overly-anal father who owned the appliance store? That was PERFECTLY played out.

I encourage anyone to buy the soundtrack. It's phenomenal. And yes, Mr. Schlesinger wrote the title song. Because of him, Fountains of Wayne are one of the few modern rock bands I can stomach, since he puts so much 'pop sensibility' into his songs - like 'Stacey's Mom' (Has Got It Goin' On) and their entire 'Welcome Interstate Managers' LP/CD.

He knows the value of a Lennon-McCartney inspired key change within a song (like 'Go All The Way' or 'If I Fell') and the George Harrison-esque 'naughty' augmented chords to create extra texture (like 'I Only Want To Be With You' or 'Isn't It a Pity').

Anyway...yes, it's a great movie that always brings me back to when the songs/songwriting were the substance that excited music fans...not the rap crap of today.

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Roger Ebert made a terrific argument on why That Thing You Do should have won an Oscar for best song. He basically stated that without that song, there IS no movie! Sadly, the Academy disagreed and the Oscar went to You Must Love Me.

After seeing the movie, I really thought the song was going to be a major hit. I was really disappointed that it didn't get much airplay (at least here in NY). I think it's one of the best songs of the 90's.

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ira   

I remeber Casey Kasem or some syndicated "Countdown" type saying that the song would have been bigger during a different era. Great song-just the narrowness of radio formats. I agree.-Ira.

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Ecstasy   

Love that movie --- love the soundtrack! I remember the first time John and I saw it we just laughed as the movie opened and we saw the view of the main street. It looked just like we remembered of that time.

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Bill C   

I think you need a band behind a song these days in order for it to chart. Obviously, there were no Wonders and I think to just have a song out there with no real connection to a band it's just a song. Now if a group like....Raspberries put out a song.....

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pierre   

"That Thing You Do" was one of my favourite pop songs of the 1990s. I collect 7" singles, and I would have loved to find this issued as a single on vinyl. It's relentlessly retro but, when it's done well, that can be a pleasing thing.

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