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Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne; 'That Thing You Do,' 'Way Back Into Love' songwriter dies from coronavirus

Emmy and Grammy-winning musician and songwriter Adam Schlesinger, known for his work with his band Fountains of Wayne and on the TV show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” died Wednesday after contracting the coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of AP)

EMMY and Grammy-winning musician and songwriter Adam Schlesinger, known for his work with his band Fountains of Wayne and on the TV show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” died Wednesday after contracting the coronavirus.

Schlesinger died at a hospital in upstate New York, his longtime lawyer Josh Grier told The Associated Press. It is not clear where or how Schlesinger, a 51-year-old father of two daughters, contracted the virus. He had been sedated and on a ventilator for several days.

Schlesinger was nominated for 10 Emmys for writing comical songs across several television shows, winning three.

He was also nominated for an Academy Award for writing the title song for the 1997 movie “That Thing You Do,” written and directed by Tom Hanks. The snappy pop ditty was the fictional one hit for a Beatles-esque band called the One-ders, later changed to the Wonders, on a label called Playtone, a name Hanks adopted for his production company.

“There would be no Playtone without Adam Schlesinger, without his ‘That Thing You Do!’” Hanks, who is himself recovering from the coronavirus, said on Twitter. “He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today.”

Raised in New York and Montclair, New Jersey, Schlesinger formed Fountains of Wayne, named for a lawn ornament store in Wayne, New Jersey, in 1995 with his classmate from Williams College in Massachusetts, Chris Collingwood.

With Schlesinger playing bass and singing backup and Collingwood playing guitar and singing lead, and the two men co-writing songs, the band known for its sunny harmonies and synthesis of pop, rock punk and comedy would have hits in 1996 with “Radiation Vibe” and 2003 with “Stacy’s Mom.” The latter was nominated for a Grammy.

After Fountains of Wayne’s main run was done, Schlesinger would then drop behind the scenes and go on to be known for his writing.

He wrote pop song "Way Back into Love" for the 2007 film "Music and Lyrics." He won the 2009 Grammy for best comedy album for co-writing the songs on “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!” a companion to a TV Christmas special with songs performed by Stephen Colbert and Elvis Costello.

In recent years he was known along with the show’s star Rachel Bloom as one of the songwriters behind “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” the musical comedy series on the CW.

Last year, Schlesinger, Bloom and Jack Dolgen won an Emmy for the show’s song, “Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal.”

Working with David Javerbaum, Schlesinger won a 2012 Emmy Award for writing the song “It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore,” performed by Neil Patrick Harris to open the Tony Awards telecast. They wrote another song for Harris that won them another Emmy the following year. (AP)


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