Adam Schlesigner died today. Although best known, in public circles, for his role as a co-founder of pop-rock group Fountains Of Wayne, Schlesinger had a long and varied career throughout the entertainment industry. As we noted in our obituary, he was an Emmy-winning, Tony-nominated songwriter whose work appeared in a frankly stunning number of places, from writing on and producing every song to appear on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, to crafting the instant ear-worm title track from That Thing You Do, to even penning the shockingly catchy theme song for Comedy Central’s prank call show Crank Yankers.
Many of Schlesinger’s fans and former collaborators have expressed their condolences for, and remembrances of, him tonight, including That Thing You Do director Tom Hanks. But the most robust of these tributes came courtesy of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creator Aline Brosh McKenna, who published a long post detailing how Schlesigner first came to be a part of the series, as well as a look at how intimately he worked on each of its numerous songs per episode. She also included one of his original demos from the series, a single-verse version of season one “Piano Man” riff “What’ll It Be?” that features him singing a verse that captures much of what made his music special, highlighting self-effacing wit and heartfelt emotion in equal measure.
Even beyond those people with whom he directly collaborated, Schlesinger’s influence is being felt throughout the pop culture world tonight. Fans, well-known and otherwise, have expressed their appreciation for his work on social media tonight, whether written today, or last night, when it was first reported that he was in critical condition after contracting COVID-19.