Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (7xVinyl)
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (7xVinyl)
Back in 2000, when Wilco had just finished touring with MERMAID AVENUE VOL. II was on tour, frontman Jeff Tweedy met with musician and producer Jim O’Rourke to perform at the Noise Pop Festival in Chicago, and let’s just say that some musical magic happened at that meeting. A few months later, Wilco went into the studio with engineer Chris Brickley to record their fourth studio album: Tweedy realized that he and drummer Ken Coomer did not share the same musical vision for the band’s new material, which led to Coomer being replaced by Glenn Kotche, after which the band decided to have O’Rourke mix the album. Before that, however, a heated argument broke out between Tweedy and his bandmate Jay Bennett, and after the album’s completion, Tweedy decided it was time for Bennett to say goodbye to the band.
Now let’s fast-forward again to that unfortunate moment when Reprise Records decided not to release YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT in the wake of AOL’s merger with Time-Warner. At first it looked like Wilco would have to shell out $50,000 to keep the rights to the album, but Reprise ended up giving them the rights to the album for free. Rather than wait to release the album until they found a new record label, Tweedy decided to make the album available for streaming on their official website starting September 18, 2001 – a smart move that earned Wilco a lot of free press and resulted in the website getting eight times as many hits as normal on the first day of streaming. While fans enjoyed the music, Tweedy set out to find the right label to officially release the album.
After finally choosing the Warner subsidiary label Nonesuch Records, Wilco released YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT on this day in 2002, earning the band #13 on the Billboard 200 and a gold record. Unsurprisingly, the album was also a hit with critics, regularly appearing in the upper echelons of lists of the best albums of the 2000s.
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