Adam Schlesinger, co-founder of New York power-pop veterans Fountains Of Wayne and Emmy-winning songwriter for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, has died as a result of coronavirus complications at the age of 52.
His lawyer, Josh Grier, confirmed Schlesinger’s death. Schlesinger was hospitalised in March and tested positive for the coronavirus.
Schlesinger had one of the most enviable careers in pop music and extended his creative talents outside of the music charts, writing songs for film, theatre and television. As an EGOT contender, Schlesinger has been nominated for Oscars, Tonys, Grammys and Emmys and won the latter two awards.
Schlesinger started Fountains of Wayne in 1995 and played bass along with Chris Collingwood, who played guitar and sang lead vocals. The band took its name from a lawn ornament store in Wayne, New Jersey, near Schlesinger’s hometown of Montclair.
A fusion of power pop and indie rock, Fountains of Wayne were critics’ favourites, releasing five albums between 1996 and 2011. Their biggest hit was 2003’s ‘Stacy’s Mom’, an eye-winking novelty track that reached No. 21 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
During his time with Fountains of Wayne, Schlesinger received two Grammy nominations, but his sole win was for his work on Steven Colbert’s A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!, which took Best Comedy Album in 2010.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Schlesinger also released six albums with his other group, Ivy, all while building a steady list of TV and film music writing credits.
As someone who was heavily influenced by 60s bands like The Kinks, Schlesinger was the perfect candidate to craft a one-hit-wonder track for a fake band in Tom Hanks’ 1996 film, That Thing You Do. Offscreen, ‘That Thing You Do’ also charted and earned Schlesinger an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. He also picked up a Golden Globe nomination for the song that year.
Schlesinger also brought his songcraft to the stage, working with David Javerbaum to write songs for the 2008 Broadway musical ‘Cry-Baby’, based on John Waters’s cult 90s film. That year, the duo was nominated for a Tony for best original score, and they worked together again in 2015 on the play ‘An Act of God’.
The singer-songwriter and composer contributed to a number of TV projects but his most successful was his work on the CW musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend starring Rachel Bloom. Schlesinger received two 2016 Emmy nominations for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend including Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for ‘Settle For Me’ and ‘Outstanding Main Title Theme’
He would go on to receive another Emmy nomination in 2017 for original songs, then at the 2018 Emmys, he picked up another award for ‘Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal’. In total, he has been nominated 10 times for an Emmy Award, five of which were for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, on which he served as executive music producer.
In recent months, Schlesinger had been working with Sarah Silverman on a stage adaptation of her memoir The Bedwetter, which was slated to begin previews on Off Broadway this month and he was collaborating with Rachel Bloom for a musical adaptation of the TV series The Nanny which was planning on a Broadway debut.