Fictional Bands Who Reached Billboard’s Charts: The Wonders, August Moon, 4*TOWN, Spinal Tap & More

In the 1996 Tom Hanks-directed film That Thing You Do!, The Wonders (formerly The Oneders) are a rock n’ roll sensation.

The film tells the story of a scrappy quartet from Erie, Pa., in the 1960s who strike gold with “That Thing You!,” an undeniable pop smash that helps propel the band from playing local pizza parlors to headlining The Hollywood Television Showcase on national TV. In between, the band signs to Play-Tone Records, which helps the track climb all the way to the top 10 on the Billboard charts.

While The Wonders aren’t, in fact, a real band, “That Thing You Do!” did end up becoming a legitimate hit on Billboard’s charts. It reached No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 on Nov. 9, 1996, and received substantial radio play, reaching No. 18 on Adult Pop Airplay and No. 24 on Pop Airplay. The song, written by the late Adam Schlesinger, even received an Oscar nomination for best original song. You could say that life imitated art.

The Wonders aren’t the only fictional band to have real success on Billboard’s charts. In fact, made-up bands have been charting for decades. Four such groups have even reached No. 1 on the Hot 100: The Archies, from The Archie Show (related to Archie Comics), hit No. 1 in 1969 with the bubblegum classic “Sugar, Sugar”; The Chipmunks’ holiday earworm “The Chipmunk Song,” with David Seville, topped the chart in 1958; The Heights, from the ‘90s Fox series The Heights, scored a No. 1 with “How Do You Talk to An Angel” in 1992; and The Partridge Family, the family band from ‘70s sitcom of the same name, reached the top with “I Think I Love You.” They’re the only Hot 100 toppers in history that are credited to fictional acts.

The tradition of fake bands charting on Billboard is still going strong. In May 2024, August Moon, the One Direction-esque band from the Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine film The Idea of You, reached No. 35 on the Emerging Artists chart.

From The Wonders to August Moon to 4*TOWN to the Blues Brothers to Spinal Tap and beyond, here’s a look at fictional acts that have reached the Billboard charts.