Adam Schlesinger ’89 passed away from COVID-19 on April 1st in Poughkeepsie, NY. Schlesinger enjoyed great commercial success with Fountains of Wayne, but also played in numerous other bands, and won 3 Emmy awards and a Grammy award for songs used in television. As written in an article reporting his death:
Schlesinger’s career extended well beyond his work in bands. He had a hand in many of the songs that populated the critically beloved TV series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and he won three Emmys — one for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and two, both with David Javerbaum, for co-writing songs performed in Tony Awards telecasts. With Javerbaum, Schlesinger was nominated for two Tonys (both for 2008’s Cry-Baby) and won a Grammy for A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!.
A versatile songwriter with a gift for straddling genres and musical eras, Schlesinger wrote frequently for film, with credits ranging from three songs in the romantic comedy Music and Lyrics to the Oscar-nominated title track to Tom Hanks’ 1996 film That Thing You Do!.
I was at Williams at the same time as Schlesinger, but I never knew him, or his Fountains of Wayne partner Chris Collingwood. I wonder if they ever played publicly (separately or together) while they were in the Purple Valley? Do any readers know?
Schlesinger must have been one of the better known Eph musicians/artists in recent decades, and he will be missed. Condolences to his family and friends.
UPDATE: My friends Ellen Waggett and Tim Sullivan, both (infinitely) more musically and artistically gifted than me, have both posted on Facebook about their friendships with Schlesinger while we were all students during the late 1980’s. This news will obviously will hit some pretty hard on a personal level.