WAYNE Schlesinger, a multi award winning pop musician described as one of the most eclectic and talented people on the modern music scene, has died after catching the coronavirus aged just 52. He started out in alt-rockers Ivy who built a solid underground following but found his first real mainstream success with Indie power-pop band Fountains of Wayne. He co-wrote their best known song “Stacey’s Mom”, a smash hit in the US and UK.
However, Schlesinger was always keen to branch out and was nominated for an Oscar for writing the title track to the Tom Hanks movie “That thing you do!” He also wrote music for TV series including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Anti-depressants Are So Not A Big Deal. He won three Emmy awards, a Grammy and was also nominated for Tonys, Golden Globes and an Oscar. To illustrate his wide appeal tributes came in from stars as varied as Tom Hanks, TV presenter Kathy Griffin, writer Stephen King and Hugh Grant, who had an unlikely chart hit with a song Schlesinger wrote for the movie Music and Lyrics. His family said he died in New York hospital after fighting the disease for several days.
Another famous musician taken by the virus this week was Ellis Marsalis, aged 85. He was the father of Wynston Marsalis, one of the best known jazz trumpeters of the modern age. Marsalis Snr was a hugely accomplished jazz pianist, credited with bringing the bebop style to his native New Orleans and as a teacher of such well known musicians as Harry Connick Jnr. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 a few days before his death in a New Orleans hospital.