Back in April, Adam Schlesinger, co-leader of Fountains Of Wayne and prodigious songwriter in just about every capacity imaginable, died of COVID-19 at the young age of 52. Since Schlesinger’s death, Schlesinger’s peers and admirers have been attempting to grapple with both the loss and with the enormity of Schlesinger’s talent. With Fountains Of Wayne, Schlesinger wrote finely detailed character sketches that registered as power-pop bangers. But he also did the same thing when working as a songwriter for hire, mostly notably for the Tom Hanks film That Thing You Do! and for the musical dramedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Today, we get to hear what happens when many of those friends and admirers try out Schlesinger’s songs. Father/Daughter Records and Wax Nine have just released the new 31-song tribute compilation Saving For A Custom Van, which features a whole ton of different artists playing songs from across Schlesinger’s long career. All of the proceeds from the compilation are going to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The list of contributors on the album is impressive. Jeff Rosenstock, Sad13, Lisa Prank, Christian Lee Hutson, Nada Surf, Mike Erg, Letters To Cleo’s Kay Hanley, Vivian Girls’ Ali Koehler, and the combination of Prince Daddy & The Hyena and Just Friends all cover Fountains Of Wayne songs. Ted Leo, Potty Mouth, and Belly’s Tanya Donnelly and Gail Greenwood, do songs from Schelsinger’s other band Ivy.
Meanwhile, Charly Bliss (whose Eva Hendricks already covered Fountains Of Wayne on Instagram) take on “Pretend To Be Nice,” Schlesinger’s song from the Josie & The Pussycats soundtrack. The unlikely team of Ben Lee and Sarah Silverman give their version of “Way Back Into Love,” a song that Schlesinger wrote for the Hugh Grant romantic comedy Music & Lyrics. Rachel Bloom, Schlesinger’s collaborator on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, sings the Fountain’s Of Wayne hit “Stacy’s Mom.” That’s really just a sampling. The sheer scope of the tribute is just awfully impressive, and it goes to show just how many great songs Schlesinger wrote in all sorts of different contexts.Stream the album below.