Adam Schlesinger, the longtime Fountains Of Wayne co-leader who also composed countless ridiculously catchy songs for movies and TV, has died of complications from coronavirus. Variety reports that he passed away Wednesday morning after being hospitalized with COVID-19 and put on a ventilator last week. He was divorced and is survived by two daughters. He was only 52.
Born in 1967 in New York City, Schlesinger co-founded the indie-pop band Ivy in 1991. Four years later, he reunited with his college buddy Chris Collingwood to form Fountains Of Wayne, named after a lawn ornament store in Wayne, New Jersey. They released their debut album in 1996 after recruiting guitarist Jody Porter and drummer Brian Young, with Schlesinger and Collingwood splitting songwriting duties. Although they put out a string of critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums, their biggest hit is the massive Cars-inspired hit “Stacey’s Mom.”
While he was leading Fountains Of Wayne, Schlesinger began a hugely successful career as a one-man song factory for Hollywood. In 1996, he was nominated for an Academy Award for composing the title song for the Tom Hanks movie That Thing You Do!. He continued to write music for films, TV shows, and theater productions like Josie And The Pussycats, There’s Something About Mary, Scary Movie, Sesame Street, The Dana Carvey Show, and Cry-Baby. For the past few years, he served as Executive Music Producer and wrote a whole bunch of songs in a dizzying array of styles for Rachel Bloom’s great CW comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
As if all that weren’t enough, Schlesinger also played in the power-pop supergroup Tinted Windows with the Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha, Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos, and Hanson’s Taylor Hanson. He produced records for James Iha, Fever High, the Monkees, Dashboard Confessional, Motion City Soundtrack, Verve Pipe, Robert Plant, America, They Might Be Giants, and more. Over the course of his career, he won three Emmys and a Grammy and was nominated for Oscars and Tonys. He was an insanely talented songwriter, and he will be missed. Revisit some of his work below.
There would be no Playtone without Adam Schlesinger, without his That Thing You Do! He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today. Hanx
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) April 2, 2020
I have so much to say about Adam Schlesinger that I am at a complete loss for words. He is irreplaceable.
— Rachel Bloom (@Racheldoesstuff) April 2, 2020
UPDATE: Schlesinger’s Fountains Of Wayne bandmate Chris Collingwood has shared a statement.
Thanks everyone for all your kind words of sympathy and support. Answering everyone will take a long time. My thoughts are with Adam's children and his parents, who treated me as one of their own
— Chris Collingwood (@lookpark) April 3, 2020