Songwriter Adam Schlesinger – who wrote and performed with Fountains of Wayne, Ivy, and Tinted Windows – has died due to complications from COVID-19. He was 52. The news was confirmed Wednesday by Schlesinger’s attorney Josh Grier.
Schlesinger performed in numerous projects throughout his life, meeting Ivy co-founder Andy Chase after replying to an ad. The two would begin Ivy in earnest in 1994 with the addition of vocalist Dominique Durand and the release of their debut EP Lately. Around this same time, Schlesinger was in the early stages of forming the power-pop group Fountains of Wayne alongside his college friend Chris Collingwood. Fountains of Wayne was quickly signed to Atlantic Records, releasing their self-titled debut in 1996.
This prolific period of Schlesinger’s life also notably spurred one of his most memorable singles – writing the titular song for Tom Hanks’ 1996 film “That Thing You Do.” The song was performed by the fictional band The Wonders in the film but the song would end up peaking at #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the real-world and also earned him nominations at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.
Schlesinger would see even further Billboard chart success with Fountains of Wayne in 2003 with the hit song “Stacy’s Mom,” which would climb up to #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. His work in film and television continued with musical contributions to Sesame Street, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Colbert Report and more. Recently he had been working with comedian/actress Sarah Silverman in adapting her memoir The Bedwetter for Off-Broadway performances.
His songwriting prowess goes even further, penning songs performed by everyone from The Monkees and America to Katy Perry and the Jonas Brothers. He also found time for collaborations like the project Tinted Windows alongside Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha, Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos, and Hanson’s Taylor Hanson.
The common denominator between all of his different projects and songwriting ventures was Schlesinger’s keen sense of melody and impeccable songwriting. Schlesinger had a gift for writing joyous songs that would ring in our ears for days after hearing, even when we didn’t realize he was the one who wrote it.
Join us in remembering Schlesinger’s life by revisiting some of our favorite of his musical moments below.
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