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Remembering The Work Of The Late Adam Schlesinger And Fountains Of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger Co-Founded A Very Underrated Power Pop Group


That huge satellite dish I had put in the backyard may not have been a hit with my wife, but it certainly led to my two-decade love affair with a band. The quartet split up in 2013, long after my wife and I divorced, yet I secretly hoped for a reunion of the band.

Those hopes were tragically put to rest last week, when Adam Schlesinger passed away due to complications from the coronavirus. The 52 year old had co-founded Fountains of Wayne, writing every one of their songs along with Chris Collingwood.

I first heard of the group through Muchmusic, a Canadian station that aired music videos and was only available through those big satellite dishes. As soon as I heard the opening chords and the calming tenor of Collingwood on "Sink To the Bottom," I was hooked.

I immediately purchased the self-titled debut album, and eagerly awaited each new release for the next fifteen years. Not only did Fountains of Wayne get me through a divorce and some difficult years at my job, but they also became part of the soundtrack to the growth of my children.

As I bid a private goodbye to a gifted musician who helped create such aural beauty, this list of my favorite fifteen FOW songs will offer consolation.

1. Hackensack
Hollywood fame came to a girl he was sweet on in high school, as the poor guy redoes floors for his dad dreaming that she may someday return to the New Jersey town found on the third album Welcome Interstate Managers.

2. Troubled Time
Although its title from sophomore album Utopia Parkway would be very appropriate for the current time, it actually refers to a young man who longs for a loved one but is too shy to ever approach her.

3. Hey Julie
Jaunty acoustic guitars back this track Welcome Interstate Managers, which contains the great simile "He's got me running around the office like a gerbil on a wheel."

4. Red Dragon Tattoo
In order to prove he is worthy of the girl, the guy in the tune from Utopia Parkway takes the N train to get inked while armed with bentine and a 38 Special CD.

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5. Yolanda Hayes
Six forms of ID are required by the DMV, where the object of his affection refuses to respond to the pickup lines he offers on this cut from Traffic and Weather.

6. Hung Up On You
Here is where the quartet flex their abilities to create a classic country song, complete with a broken-hearted lover and a rundown bar.

7. Karpet King
Out of State Plates is the collection on which can be found this delightful portrayal of a creepy looking carpet installer who wants to lay it down.

8. Someone To Love
Lonely professionals Beth McKenzie and Seth Shapiro keep hoping for love, but they are too busy fighting over a cab to notice each other on this opener from Traffic and Weather.

9. Radio Bar
As they listen to hicks playing Steve Miller's "The Joker" over and over, the couple finally hook up at the end of this catchy single from the last album Sky Full of Holes.

10. Hat and Feet
After having been dumped like a piano falling out of a window, the poor guy feels splattered right there on Utopia Parkway.

11. The Man in the Santa Suit
Probably the wittiest Christmas song ever, the title guy on this Out Of State Plates selection looks like Jerry Garcia.

12. Planet of Weed
Visualize longing on a couch with Doritos in a land where greed and jealousy do not exist, and you have bittersweet of this highlight from Traffic and Weather.

13. Leave the Biker
The singer is justified by the gorgeous girl's choice of a Harley devotee with crumbs in his beard, according to this single from the self-titled debut.

14. The Valley of Malls
"You got to go when Mother Nature calls" say the band on this track from Utopia Parkway, featuring half off sales and a penny fountain.

15. Peace and Love
Dreaming of owning a vegan restaurant or a book store in Vermont, the guy from Welcome Interstate Managers for now contents himself with strumming the chords for a Billy Joel hit.

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