Adam Schlesinger: in memoriam of a UD icon

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Photo by Broadway World/Shutterstock Adam Schlesinger 'Sunday' plays opening night, New York, USA - 23 Sep 2019

Adam Schlesinger was the bassist and songwriter from the rock band Fountains of Wayne, and famously penned “Stacy’s Mom” alongside bandmate Chris Collingwood, which would become an anthem for Thursday nights at the University of Dallas.

Schlesinger, who died at the age of 52 on April 1, 2020, of COVID-19, was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist and drummer. He was also a prolific composer for TV and film, and a sought-after music producer, according to Yahoo Entertainment.

The band is probably best known for their 2003 Grammy-nominated single, “Stacy’s Mom.” It has been covered by other artists such as Bowling for Soup and Postmodern Jukebox, as well as many UD student bands.

According to Genius, “Stacy’s Mom” was one of the first songs to reach the #1 spot on the “Most Downloaded Songs” list of the iTunes Music Store. 

According to Billboard, the song has sold a total of 1.3 million downloads in the United States.

The song, needless to say, was extremely popular with the noughts. It didn’t just reflect an entire generation, but it acted as a precursor to the award-winning songwriting from Adam Schlesinger that was to come.

“Stacy’s Mom” was partially inspired by real life, according to a SongFacts interview with Schlesinger in 2003.

“One of my best friends, when we were maybe 11 or 12, told me that he thought my grandmother was really hot, that added a little bit to the song,” Schlesinger had said. “That’s a true story. And my grandmother was pretty hot. And I said, ‘Hey, you’re stepping over the line,’ but at that point in life, I wouldn’t put it past anyone.’”

Why is a goofy, over-sexualized song about desiring a relationship with a friend’s mother an anthem for all UD students? Furthermore, although it may not be in the Great American Songbook, why is it such a good song?

Plain and simple, it’s an earworm. The song is clever, catchy and distinctive. It’s both a banger and a bop. It is iconic, all around. “Stacy’s Mom” is, in its essence, a fun and uncomplex song.

But what makes it so personal to the UD community? On the first ofApril, why did I see so many Snapchats from UD students captioned “RIP Adam Schlesinger?” (Okay, I got only one, but a lot of people sent me a Daily Mail article that essentially said the same thing.)

“When I visited UD as a senior in high school,” freshman Charlotte Lannon said, “I went to my first TGIT and heard ‘Stacy’s Mom.’ It was an incredible, happy moment. Everyone around me knew every single lyric. Even though I didn’t know all of the words or the people around me, I felt united with the crowd.”

“I heard the song because of UD. And when I hear it now, I only think of happy memories with my friends,” said Lannon.

Other colleges have their turn-up anthems. At most frat houses, you might hear the classic Killers song “Mr. Brightside” or a Kanye song. During my senior year of high school, the anthems were “Mo Bamba” and “Sicko Mode.” Maybe your go-to hype playlist consists of entirely Saweetie or Drake.

These are all great picks if you’re on the aux — but very mainstream. (Not that it’s a bad thing to enjoy popular music!)

When I try to explain to my friends that “Stacy’s Mom” is the song at my college, they are usually confused. There are no words to explain the euphoria of dancing at TGIT with your closest friends when you hear the familiar bassline as the clock strikes twelve.

In this time of pandemic and self-isolation, it is only natural to miss friends, in-person classes and normalcy. Yet, when I play “Stacy’s Mom” over FaceTime with friends, it takes me back to my home at UD.

Sure, UD doesn’t have a football team, a huge campus or reliable Wi-Fi. My question to you all is, who cares? We have “Stacy’s Mom.”

Thank you, Adam Schlesinger, for your many contributions to music. Thank you for giving us our unofficial school song, as unusual and quirky as it may be.

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