Adam Schlesinger, the co-founder of rock band Fountains of Wayne and the Oscar-nominated and Grammy-winning songwriter of That Thing You Do and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, has died from coronavirus-related complications. He was 52.
Adam Schlesinger was hospitalized on Tuesday after contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) amid the global pandemic. The musician, who in addition to being a Grammy-nominated bassist for the band behind “Stacy’s Mom” earned acclaim for his original music collaborations for film and TV, died Wednesday from complications related to the virus.
“As many of you are aware, Adam had been hospitalized with Covid-19 and although he had been making some small improvements over the last few days, Adam’s condition was critical and he was ultimately unable to recover from Covid-19 complications,” read a statement from the Fountains of Wayne attorney (via CNN). “He was truly a prolific talent and even more so, a loving and devoted father, son and friend. We are terribly sorry to convey this loss.”
Schlesinger co-founded Fountains of Wayne with college friend Chris Collingwood, and went on to earn a Grammy nod for the band’s 2003 hit “Stacy’s Mom.” Schlesinger’s tongue-in-cheek humor and pop-rock genius would aid him in his Hollywood career, which stretches back to his Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated work on the 1996 Tom Hanks movie That Thing You Do. Schlesinger co-wrote the title song in the beloved musical comedy film, a Beatles-inspired earworm that managed to sound like it had traveled right from the 1960s.
Schlesinger would go on to become valued songwriter in Hollywood, writing and producing songs for Music and Lyrics, Josie and the Pussycats, A Colbert Christmas, and most recently, the CW musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, for which he earned four Emmy nominations and won one. He scored two other Emmys for his lyrical contributions to the 2011 and 2012 Tony Awards telecasts.
Called “one of pop’s great collaborators” by NPR, Schlesinger was happy to share the credit for his works. Every Fountains of Wayne song was co-billed to Schlesinger and Collingwood, and Schlesinger wrote for — and with — singers in various bands, from Dominique Durand in Ivy, Taylor Hanson in Tinted Windows, or Anna Nordeen and Reni Lane in Fever High. And of course, for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Schlesinger wrote or co-wrote a whopping 157 songs with star and creator Rachel Bloom and music supervisor Jack Dolgen.
Because of his willingness to share credit on his songs, Schlesinger’s pop genius was often overlooked. But Schlesinger had a talent for conjuring up a whole era or genre with a few simple notes, and could bang out a sincere ballad as easily as he could sharply satirize pop music.
“He was a genius,” Bloom, with whom Schlesinger was set to collaborate with once again a stage adaptation of The Nanny before his death, said in a tweet following his death.
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