Song of the Day #4,316: ‘Better Things (Live)’ – Fountains of Wayne

Of all the recent deaths of musical artists, through coronavirus or otherwise, the one that hit me hardest was the loss of Adam Schlesinger. The former Fountains of Wayne bassist/songwriter died at just 52 years old due to complications from COVID-19.

I’ve been a big Fountains of Wayne fan since I first heard their album Utopia Parkway back in 1999. 2003’s Welcome Interstate Managers is one of the best pop albums ever recorded. Schlesinger, along with co-writer/lead singer Chris Collingwood, crafted note-perfect, clever, alternately funny and poignant tunes about everyday life. If you aren’t familiar with FOW, now’s a perfect time to get started.

Schlesinger also contributed to movies, TV and the stage, landing an Oscar nomination for the title track of That Thing You Do, winning multiple Emmys for his work on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and earning Tony nominations for scoring Cry-Baby.

Collingwood and Schlesinger had a falling out that resulted in Fountains of Wayne’s break-up in 2013. They remained estranged until Schlesinger’s death, when Collingwood tweeted this about his former partner: “Thanks everyone for all your kind words of sympathy and support. Answering everyone will take a long time. My thoughts are with Adam’s children and his parents, who treated me as one of their own.”

I’ve featured a lot of Fountains of Wayne songs on the blog over the years, including two (‘Troubled Times’ and ‘Valley Winter Song’) I thought would be appropriate today. But I found this clip of the band playing The Kinks’ ‘Better Things’ on Conan O’Brien’s show, along with Conan’s touching tribute to Schlesinger, and it seemed like a lovely way to honor a great talent.

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

Here’s hoping all the days ahead
Won’t be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead
And somehow happiness will find you
Forget what happened yesterday
I know that better things are on the way

It’s really good to see you rocking out and having fun
Living like you just begun
Accept your life and what it brings
I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

I know you’ve got a lot of good things happening up ahead
The past is gone, it’s all been said
So here’s to what the future brings
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,316: ‘Better Things (Live)’ – Fountains of Wayne

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    This one hit me hard as well, partly because I was a fan of FOW and partly because Amy and I are both 52 years old. Losing someone to Covid at our age is certainly a wake up call.

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