Adam Schlesinger, RIP

This hits particularly hard.

Adam Schlesinger, co-founder of the great power-pop band Fountains of Wayne, died yesterday at the age of 52 due to the corona virus. Schlesinger was immensely talented – Fountains of Wayne songs had an effortless quality to them – you hear an FOW song and it embeds in your brain right away. They’re filled with great hooks, melodic guitars and lyrics that were ironic, familiar, funny and bittersweet, often in the same song. FOW rocked, but not too hard – from the sound to the arrangements, everything was done in the service of the song. They were the very definition of power pop.

You won’t be disappointed by anything in the Fountains of Wayne catalog. All six of their studio albums: Fountains of Wayne, Utopia Parkway, Welcome Interstate Managers, Traffic and Weather, Sky Full of Holes, along with the double-disc of rarities and demos, Out of State Plates, are all filled with gems. Check out this excellent RollingStone.com feature, “20 Essential Songs” for a great selection of power-pop genius. FOW’s biggest song was the fun “Stacy’s Mom” from 2003; they deserved to have much bigger chart success. One of my favorite songs is “Bright Future In Sales” from what might be my favorite FOW album, Welcome Interstate Managers:

Schlesinger also did a lot of writing for movies and TV. He’s the voice and music behind “That Thing You Do,” the theme of Tom Hanks’ movie of the same name; Schlesinger also wrote/co-wrote many great and often hilarious songs (over 125!) for the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and won an Emmy. In addition, Schlesinger also produced The Monkees first album in 20 years, 2016’s Good Times!

And we can’t forget the power-pop super-group Tinted Windows, featuring Schlesinger, Taylor Hanson from Hanson, James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins and Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos. Like FOW, Tinted Windows music is effortless power-pop, check out the fun and rocking “Messing With My Head” – any song with a chorus that implores you to “Come on, come on” I’m going to automatically love.

Tom Hanks, Stephen Colbert and others had wonderful things to say about Adam in this Variety piece.

This sucks…fucking corona virus. There was no end to this guy’s talent and now we’ll never know what great music was still to come from him. Fortunately, he left behind so much.

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