And from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy and Wilco rose like a phoenix! Created in 1994 after the demise of the oft contentious Uncle Tupelo, the original line up of Wilco consisted of the entire band of Uncle Tupelo minus Jay Farrar. Wilco was named after the voice procedure idiom “wilco” meaning “Will Comply” which Tweedy found to be an ironic choice for a rock band.
With their debut album A.M., released in 1995, Wilco was still well-established in the Alt/Country sound, however, their musical evolution has found them experimenting with alternative rock and pop. The band considered the album a failure due to the modest reception by critics and fans alike and the fact that Jay Farrar’s new band Son Volt had released their debut album Trace and it fared better both critically and commercially.
Being There was the overly ambitious (19 songs) sophomore effort that was released as a double album but sold for a single album price. This was accomplished by Tweedy agreeing to give the label (Reprise) Wilco’s share of album royalties. It is estimated that the band lost more than half a million dollars. The album was a hit with critics and reached 73 on the Billboard album chart.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was released in 2001, after much turmoil and confusion, and eventual dismissal from their previous label. It became their best selling album and to date has sold almost 600,000 copies. In addition to the commercial success, critics raved and Billboard ranked it 13 on its charts and Rolling Stone Magazine listed as one of the 50 best albums of the decade. With the follow up release of A Ghost is Born Wilco received a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album and became the bands first top ten album.
- Being There
- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
- A Ghost is Born
- Kicking Television (Live in Chicago)
- Sky Blue Sky
- Wilco (The Album)
Top 5 Wilco Songs:
- Either Way (Sky Blue Sky)
- Box Full of Letters (A.M.)
- Sunken Treasure (Being There)
- Jesus, Etc. (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)
- Theologians (A Ghost is Born)
Wilco, in the face of their career long major label affiliation, is seen more as an indie band and have been categorized as alt/country, alternative rock, pop, and roots-rock. Critics have even referred to them as an Americanized adaptation of Radiohead; this is in large part to the diversity of their sound and catalog. The diversity has certainly been enabled by the rotating members of the band. Since their inception, Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt are the only original members.
Whatever the comparison or classification, they simple truth is that Wilco is a great band that has maintained their integrity while staying relevant. As fickle as critics and consumes are, this band has persevered and in many ways influenced countless bands along the way.
Check out Wilco at www.wilcoweb.com.
Wilco’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.wilcoweb.com.
Great music awaits!