Skip to main content

Adam Schlesinger’s Chart History, From ‘That Thing You Do!’ to Fountains of Wayne’s ‘Stacy’s Mom’ & Beyond

Adam Schlesinger -- who died Wednesday (April 1) due to coronavirus complications -- left a quirky and impressive imprint on Billboard’s charts through the years, as both a member of the band Fountain…

Adam Schlesinger — who died Wednesday (April 1) due to coronavirus complications — left a quirky and impressive imprint on Billboard’s charts through the years, as both a member of the band Fountains of Wayne and a songwriter.

Before Fountains of Wayne hit the charts in late 1996, Schlesinger actually notched a hit as a writer, but for another band — and a fictional band, no less.

Schlesinger wrote the title track of the Tom Hanks-directed film That Thing You Do!, which was released in October 1996 and depicted the rise and fall of a fictional 1960s pop band called The Wonders. The song “That Thing You Do!” was credited to The Wonders, with vocals performed by Mike Viola.


“That Thing You Do!” first reached a Billboard chart on Oct. 12, 1996, when it entered both the Adult Pop Songs airplay chart and the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart. The track peaked at No. 18 on Adult Pop Songs, No. 22 on the Adult Contemporary airplay tally, No. 24 on the Pop Songs airplay chart, and No. 41 on the Hot 100. (In the film, “That Thing You Do!” reached the top 10 on the Hot 100.)

The song also scored Schlesinger an Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe nomination for best original song.

Shortly after the release of “That Thing You Do!,” Fountains of Wayne hit Billboard’s charts for the first time with the group’s debut single, “Radiation Vibe.” It bowed on the Alternative Songs airplay chart dated Nov. 30, 1996, peaking at No. 14 on Jan. 11, 1997, and also reached No. 71 on the Radio Songs tally.

“Radiation Vibe” was the lead single from the group’s self-titled debut album, which climbed to No. 20 on the Heatseekers Albums chart (Jan. 25, 1997). The set has sold 153,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

The band issued its second album, Utopia Parkway, in 1999, which reached No. 24 on the Heatseekers tally and sold 90,000 copies. It produced one hit single, “Denise,” which climbed to No. 34 on the Alternative Songs chart.

Things really exploded for the band, chart-wise, with the release of its third album, Welcome Interstate Managers, in 2003. The album became the group’s first to chart on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 115, and sold 448,000 copies. It spawned the hit single “Stacy’s Mom,” which hit multiple Billboard tallies. The track, co-written by Schlesinger and the band’s Chris Collingwood, peaked at No. 21 on the Hot 100, No. 3 on Pop Songs, No. 20 on Adult Pop Songs and No. 31 on Alternative Songs. The song garnered a Grammy Award nomination for best pop vocal performance by a duo or group with vocal, while the band also claimed a Grammy nomination for best new artist of 2003 (many years after the group dropped its first album in 1996).

“Stacy’s Mom,” thanks in part to an eye-catching music video starring actress Rachel Hunter that was in heavy rotation on MTV, has sold 1.3 million downloads and earned more than 185 million on-demand streams in the U.S.

After “Stacy’s Mom,” Fountains of Wayne charted one more single on a Billboard chart: “Someone to Love” in 2007, which peaked at No. 19 on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay tally. The group notched three more charting albums on the Billboard 200: Out-of-State Plates (No. 168 in 2005), Traffic and Weather (No. 97 in 2007) and, their final album, Sky Full of Holes (No. 37 in 2011).

Schlesinger also notched further Hot 100 hits a songwriter — outside of Fountains of Wayne — with The Click Five’s “Just the Girl” (a No. 11 Hot 100 hit in 2005) and Bowling for Soup’s “High School Never Ends” (No. 97 on the Hot 100 in 2006).

Shortly after Sky Full of Holes debuted on the Billboard 200 in August of 2011, another band of Schlesinger’s, Ivy — which got together in the mid-1990s — dented Billboard’s charts. The group’s sixth and final album, All Hours, debuted and peaked at No. 12 on the Top Dance/Electronic Albums and No. 25 on Heatseekers Albums charts in October 2011.

Another side project of Schlesinger’s, the supergroup Tinted Windows, saw its self-titled album peak at No. 59 on the Billboard 200 in 2009. The group also boasted Hanson’s Taylor Hanson, The Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick.


While Fountains of Wayne never won a Grammy, Schlesinger took home a trophy for best comedy album in 2009, as one of the producers of Stephen Colbert’s TV soundtrack album A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! The album reached No. 1 on the Comedy Albums chart, No. 7 on the Soundtracks chart, No. 34 on the Holiday Albums chart and No. 74 on the Billboard 200.

Schlesinger would also go on to garner three Emmy wins for his songwriting for television (two tunes for the 2012 and 2013 Tony Awards, along with a track penned for the series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and a 2008 Tony Award nomination for best original score (for Cry-Baby). Cry-Baby’s original studio cast recording was released in 2015 and reached No. 13 on Billboard’s Cast Albums chart that same year.