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Fountains of Wayne Has Got It Going On

Wikipedia offers an extraordinarily precise — some would say anal — explanation of the genesis of the name of Fountains of Wayne: The band was named after a lawn element store at the intersection of Route 23 and Route 46 in Wayne, New Jersey. No doubt, it represented suburbia and all that that suggests to the band. The store, which also was seen in an episode of “The Sopranos,” has closed.

Fountains of Wayne had a big hit in “Stacy’s Mom,” with lyrics that could have come from Steely Dan. “Someone to Love” (below) is a sad song because the expected happy ending doesn’t occur. It sounds like Squeeze. “Hackensack” is above. I am not sure why this is such a great verse:

Now I see your face in the strangest places
Movies and magazines
I saw you talkin’ to Christopher Walken
On my TV screen

It may be that it great poetic writing. Or, perhaps, anything that manages to include Christoper Walken sounds great.

1996: Fountains of Wayne Formed. 2003: Fountains of Wayne Wins Best New Band Emmy

The Wikipedia profile has all sorts of fun previous names for the band: “Woolly Mammoth,” “Are You My Mother?” and “Three Men Who When Standing Side by Side Have a Wingspan of Over Twelve Feet.”

I also like the name of a album the band released: “Utopia Parkway.” It’s a concept album about growing up in the suburbs. The problem is that Utopia Parkway is in New York City. Either Wikipedia misstated what the album is about, the band thinks that Queens is a suburb or an album about the suburbs with the word “utopia” in the name was too perfect to not use, geography notwithstanding.

The band is from New Jersey. It has the distinction of being awarded a best new artist Grammy in 2003 — seven years after it was formed.

Wikipedia and the Fountains of Wayne website were used to prepare this post. The home page photo is from the band’s website.

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Also of Interest

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.