It’s a sad day in the music industry as the world mourns the death of Fountains of Wayne singer Adam Schlesinger. He died of coronavirus complications yesterday, April 1. He was 52.
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Schlesinger’s lawyer John Grier confirmed Schlesinger’s death to Rolling Stone magazine. The singer was hospitalized in March after testing positive for the coronavirus. He was placed on a ventilator and was heavily sedated when he died.
Schlesinger leaves an impressive career behind him. He was born in Manhattan on Oct. 31,1967 but later he moved to New Jersey. He attended Williams College in Massachusetts and it was there he would meet Chris Collingwood. The two formed Fountains of Wayne, a band named after a New Jersey lawn ornament.
The group recorded a demo and got picked up by Atlantic Records who ended up eventually dropping the band.
The musicians struggled for a bit but their 2003 release, Welcome Interstate Managers would be their biggest ever largely owed to the featured hit Stacy’s Mom. The song peaked at number 21 on the Billboard charts.
The video for the song starred model Rachel Hunter and contained many references to the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High as well as the popular band The Cars. This helped the video stay in regular MTV rotation.
In all, Fountains of Wayne would release 5 albums between 1996 and 2011 but Schlesinger had several other music projects in the works. He had another band called Ivy that he released 6 records with.
In the meantime, Schlesinger was also building up his TV and movie portfolio. He wrote the song That Thing You Do for the movie of the same name. In the movie, the song was a hit for Tom Hanks’ fake band The Wonders. In real life, the song moved up the charts and earned Schlesinger an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.
Schlesinger’s songwriting work in the movie and TV industry also won him an Emmy and a Grammy.
There are several celebrities that fondly remember Schlesinger. Tom Hanks said “There would be no Playtone without Adam Schlesinger, without his That Thing You Do!” Tom Hanks wrote. “He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today.”
Comedian Kathy Griffith had this to say, “Oh god. Adam Schlesinger was wildly talented. He graciously wrote the theme song to my KATHY talk show called I’ll Say It. He was so patient with me as I was recording it in the booth, guiding me at every step. He did the gig as a favor, in a little home studio on a Saturday.”
Another quote came from New Jersey governor Phil Murphy, “From his work with Fountains of Wayne to his award-winning credits in TV, movies, and stage, millions of fans caught that radiation vibe Adam Schlesinger was groovin’ on. A sad, sad loss for Jersey’s music scene.”
A sad loss indeed. Schlesinger will be deeply missed.