Based on a script that Cameron Crowe originally wrote in 1984, which took place in Phoenix, Arizona. After Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Seattle bands Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone, died of a drug overdose in March 1990, Crowe noticed the music community in Seattle coming together to process the loss. He rewrote his script with the incident in mind, changing its setting to Seattle, which had been the location of his previous movie, Say Anything... (1989), which featured a song from Mother Love Bone in the soundtrack, "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns" - the same song is on the 'Singles' soundtrack.
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Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave saw a list of Citizen Dick song titles, all completely made up, which would appear briefly in the film and decided to pen songs to match each title. One of those songs, "Seasons", appears on the film soundtrack. Another, "Spoonman", was later recorded by Soundgarden. It became a hit in 1994 and can be heard in a rough version (perhaps a demo) in the film when an unseen person is posting Citizen Dick fliers.
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The Coryell Court Apartments, where the main characters live in the film, is located at 1820 Thomas Street in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The building's courtyard fountain was created for the movie out of Styrofoam.
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Paul Giamatti in one of his first films says one word: "What?"
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In an early scene at the coffee shop, Janet Livermore looks over a somewhat bizarre-looking customer's shoulder at a book that she is reading. Although the title is obscured, the book is "Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung," a collection of pieces by the rock journalist Lester Bangs. Bangs was an inspiration and mentor for Cameron Crowe, as depicted in Almost Famous (2000), in which Bangs is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and advises the fictionalized version of the young Crowe.
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The band playing in the bar is Alice in Chains. The band refused to do playback and performed live on set.
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Johnny Depp turned down the role of Steve because he was uncomfortable saying "I love you" onscreen.
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When Steve is buying pregnancy tests and comes across the grocery cashier, the cashier mentions that he knows him from "Mr. Deegan's class". Mr. Deegan is a teacher mentioned in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), which Cameron Crowe wrote.
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In one scene, Cliff is wearing a Green River shirt, which is a reference to Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament's band before they were in Mother Love Bone and Pearl Jam.
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Eddie Vedder pulled double duty. He was the drummer in Citizen Dick, and supplied the vocals for 'Cliff, on the song " Touch Me I'm Dick".
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The movie soundtrack was reissued in a 2×CD and 2×LP edition on May 19, 2017, to mark the 25th anniversary of the OST, coincidentally one day following Chris Cornell's death, although the release date had been announced in January 2017. The reissued soundtrack features a new mastering and a bonus disc of previously unreleased material, including rare Chris Cornell recordings. Amongst the unreleased material: demos, instrumentals, and live recordings from the likes of The Replacements' Paul Westerberg, Alice in Chains, and Mudhoney. Also included is "Touch Me I'm Dick" by Matt Dillon's fictional band in the film, Citizen Dick, featuring Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. It marks the first commercial release of "Touch Me I'm Dick". The reissue also includes new liner notes and track-by-track descriptions by Cameron Crowe.
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Campbell Scott's character is seen wearing a SubPop t-shirt, a well-known independent record company from Seattle which released many albums which became known as the "Seattle Sound", most notably Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney.
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Contrary to popular belief, the film was already well underway when the celebrated "Seattle sound" became popular, rather than being designed as a vehicle to capitalize on its popularity. In fact, this film was supposed to begin production in 1984, right after The Wild Life (1984) but the project was delayed.
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Chris Cornell recommended Smashing Pumpkins to Cameron Crowe. Crowe liked the band and asked Billy Corgan if he could send any new songs for the movie, and Corgan sent three songs. "Drown" was the last one in the demo and Crowe immediately loved it and felt like it would fit the movie. The demo was pretty similar to the finished track.
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Cliff is also wearing a shirt with Edie Sedgwick's face on it when he is delivering flowers.
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A proposed alternate title for this film was "Come As You Are", named after the song by Nirvana.
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In the "Expect the Best" scene, Debbie is offering some suggestions for her video look, one of which was what she called the "Edie Sedgwick". Edie Sedgwick is the second cousin of actress Kyra Sedgwick, who played Linda in this film.
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Tom Skerritt, who plays the mayor of Seattle, is a longtime resident of the city.
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The rock band Nirvana was supposed to contribute to the soundtrack but backed out. Cameron Crowe liked Nirvana's "Imodium" and wanted to use it in the soundtrack, he thought that song really belonged in the movie. They were working towards it and Crowe sent them a videocassette when Kurt Cobain was in Hawaii. Crowe told Rolling Stone in 2017 that he heard later that Cobain went to the premiere, somebody let him in through the exit door at the back of the theater and he watched the movie. Crowe said that he always thought that was pretty great, that that night, Kurt Cobain was also in the room. Before the movie was released, Nirvana told in a 1992 interview with MTV that they turned the movie down because it was just a love story that takes place in Seattle, and they didn't like "Rock n Roll movies".
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Warner Bros. held the film at bay, unsure what to do with it, for almost nine months, until the explosive success of Nirvana's Nevermind put Seattle on the map.
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The Singles soundtrack was released three months before the film itself. Cameron Crowe told Rolling Stone in 2017 that that was the purpose. The purpose was to chum the waters for people to know that there was a movie. And the music was very timely, and Pearl Jam hadn't put out anything in awhile. Suddenly the child the studio didn't want had become the favorite child, and they put out the soundtrack early and it really helped.
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Jennifer Jason Leigh was originally cast as Linda but dropped out.
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The title slide for the cut scene "Have Fun, Stay Single" is a still from the famous fight scene in Nothing Sacred (1937).
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Matt Dillon was originally offered the part of Steve Dunne but turned it down.
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The band name Citizen Dick is a play on the Seattle band Citizen Sane, which itself was named after Citizen Kane (1941).
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Warner Bros. attempted to turn Singles into a television series, but Cameron Crowe turned it down. Some time later, Crowe saw the news on The Hollywood Reporter that his film 'Singles' would become a TV show from David Crane and Marta Kaufman - the people who ended up doing Friends (1994). Crowe called his lawyer and tried to stop this, but NBC went ahead with the idea anyway, incorporating many of the elements of that proposed series into "Friends". Crowe told Rolling Stone in 2017 that his mother still says, "You really screwed up on Friends! All you had to do was say yes! You would be living in a castle right now!" And Crowe said, "I don't need to live in a castle! I'm happy I made the choices I made. But in my mind at least, you can partially draw a line from the genesis of Friends to our little Seattle film."
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The extended live performances of Alice in Chains' "Would?" and "It Ain't Like That", along with Soundgarden's "Birth Ritual", were included as bonus in the 2015 Blu-ray release.
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Steven drives an older red Saab fastback, the same car driven in Douglas Coupland's book Generation X. That book, like the movie, considered a touchstone for that generation.
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Director, Cameron Crowe, originally envisioned singer, Chris Cornell, in the role of Cliff Poncier. Cornell turned down the role because of the filming schedule, to focus solely on his band Soundgarden. Crowe still gave him wordless cameo and asked Soundgarden perform their song "Birth Ritual" in one of the scenes.
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The boat Linda gets on to go to Alaska is named the Clifford A. Barnes. Cliff Barnes was the JR Ewing adversary on Dallas (1978).
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On one of the fliers for a Citizen Dick upcoming show, Sweetwater is one of the bands on the bill. Stillwater is the band in Almost Famous (2000).
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The address of the apartment complex is 1820 E Thomas Street.
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When talking to his friends, young Steve confuses the words "sperm" and "spam." This is likely a reference to Monty Python, who had famous sketches about both sperm and spam (and in fact, a later documentary on the comedy troupe was even entitled "From Spam to Sperm.")
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Chris Cornell: man listening to car stereo when Cliff demos it for Janet.
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Bruce Pavitt: Played Bruce, one of the Expect the Best matches. Bruce is the founder of Sub Pop records; the indie record label that signed Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, TAD, to name a few.
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Tad Doyle: as the guy whom Janet accidentally calls and he replies "I'll be right over". Tad Doyle is the lead singer of the Seattle grunge band TAD.
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Although the mayor rejects Steve's idea for a mass-transit system, on the grounds that everyone prefers to drive, Seattle would eventually get a light-rail train system in 2003.
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The pickup that hits the car with Steve and Linda says "Crowe Gardening".
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