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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020

Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger dies of complications from Covid-19

The 52-year-old Emmy and Grammy winner died after being on a ventilator for several days.

Image: Richard Shotwell/AP

THE MUSICIAN AND songwriter Adam Schlesinger, who was best known for his work with rock band Fountains of Wayne, has died from complications relating to the coronavirus.

The Emmy and Grammy-winner died at a hospital in upstate New York, his lawyer Josh Grier confirmed last night.

It is not clear where or how Schlesinger, a 52-year-old father of two, contracted the virus. He had been on a ventilator for several days.

Schlesinger was nominated for ten Emmys for writing comical songs across several television shows, winning the US television award three times.

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 song was the fictional hit for a Beatles-esque band called the One-ders, which later changed its name to the Wonders and featured on a label called Playtone, a name Hanks later adopted for his own 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 New Jersey, Schlesinger formed Fountains of Wayne – named after a lawn ornament store in the town of Wayne, New Jersey – in 1995 with his classmate from Williams College in Massachusetts, Chris Collingwood.

The two co-wrote songs for the band that became known for sunny harmonies and a synthesis of pop, punk and comedy.

The group had hits in 1996 with Radiation Vibe and in 2003 with its best-known song Stacy’s Mom, which was nominated for a Grammy.

After Fountains of Wayne’s main run finished, Schlesinger became more well-known for his writing.

He won a Grammy in 2009 for the best comedy album for co-writing 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.

Colbert said on Twitter last night he that he was “so saddened” to learn of the death of “a great (and patient) and talented artist with whom it was my good luck to work”.

Chat show host Jimmy Kimmell also paid tribute to Schlesinger, describing him as a “super-talented man who will be missed”.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Twitter that Schlesinger’s death was a “sad, sad loss for Jersey’s music scene”.

Stephen King was also among those who sang his praises on social media, saying it was “terrible” to lose the musician to the coronavirus pandemic.

With reporting from Associated Press.

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