Adam Schlesinger’s songs were there all along. I just wasn’t listening.

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I found Fountains of Wayne because of coronavirus, the bug that took away the band’s ringleader, Adam Schlesinger. At 52, he was one of the younger victims. He stopped breathing April 1, 2020 in a New York hospital despite the aid of a ventilator.

Ventilator. There’s a word. Four syllables spritzing sickness, despair, ruin, every whoosh-click-whoosh cadence repeated steadily and without sympathy until either you die or, finally, one afternoon, they unspool the straw from your windpipe and you go home and must wonder: What the hell just happened?

Ventilator, the word and the world it suggests, is pretty well the opposite of “The Summer Place,” a song Schlesinger and his band mates performed in 2011 on NPR’s clever live-music series, “Tiny Desk Concerts.” …


Stewart Schley

Writer, editor, media industry analyst. Fan of electric guitars. Believes in Santa Claus and baseball. Some light dusting.

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