Songs of grace

When the talented songwriter and Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger passed away from Covid 19 on April 1 in Poughkeepsie, it was, for me, the closest to home the virus had hit to that point. Not very close. He was no one I knew personally, but a favorite songwriter, five years my junior, felled in his prime, a good 20 years before his gaudy season of career achievement awards was to have begun. Seems like a world ago now, and of course the hits have kept coming, many considerably closer to home.

When he died, I surprised myself with a wordy and rhapsodic tribute on social media. I don’t often obituate when famous musicians die. I have no policy against it and no judgment of those who offer tribute. I’m just most times disinclined. Schlesinger’s passing offered the occasion to ask myself why. All I could come up with is: I’m saving it all for Sir Paul.

Of course that all but assures he is going to outlive me.


McCartney turns 78 today. He breathes melody. Plays the snot out of every rock instrument. Sings like a bloody angel to this day. Writes songs of such effortless grace it makes you feel you could do it yourself. You can’t. He was the one behind the Beatles’ innovations, a worker, a studio rat, a tireless joy-driven creator with golden ears and a taste for the outre and experimental every bit as genuine as his infallible pop instincts. My regard for McCartney never needed much of a boost, but when I watched the documentary Going Underground: McCartney, the Beatles, and the UK Counter-culture, it got one anyway. Recommended for you on this Sir Paul’s Day.

Read more installments of Village Voices by John Burdick.