If Billie Joe Armstrong’s solo version of the somber “Wake Me Up When September Ends” on Saturday night’s “One World: Together at Home” broadcast left you at all down in the mouth, he’s got the immediate antidote for that. On Monday the Green Day singer released his cover version of the theme song for the 1996 film “That Thing You Do!,” a song that in any variation is destined to turn COVID-19-related frowns upside down.
The coronavirus crisis did provide a sad reason for bringing such a happy song back into the forefront of the nation’s consciousness, of course. “That Thing You Do!” was written by the late Adam Schlesinger, who died April 1 from symptoms of the disease.
“Another week, another No Fun Mondays,” wrote Armstrong, referring to his weekly series of Monday covers. “Today’s song is a tribute to the late Adam Schlesinger and the incredible music he wrote including this one, ‘That Thing You Do.'”
Other songs Armstrong has covered on recent Mondays include “Manic Monday” (for which he was joined by Susannah Hoffs), “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory.”
Schlesinger was nominated for an Oscar in 1997 for writing the song for writer-director Tom Hanks’ 1996 song about a one-hit wonder band in the mid-’60s. The Fountains of Wayne co-founder (and, later, writer and producer of scores of songs for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) did such a good job of coming up with a song that was credible as a smash that it nearly undermined the idea that the movie’s fictional group would fade away unnoticed. (Pal Mike Viola sang the number for the soundtrack.)
On Friday, the cast members who played the Oneders 24 years ago — Ethan Embry, Johnathon Schaech, Tom Everett Scott and Steve Zahn — reunited for a YouTube conversation to celebrate Schlesinger’s contribution to the film and raise money for MusiCares’ COVID-19 fund. (They were joined for parts of the chat by Colin Hanks and Kevin Pollak.)
Variety did its own interview with the four core “That Thing You Do!” cast members, which you can read and watch here.