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Yo La Tengo

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Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo is an American rock band that has not achieved popular success despite becoming a critics' favorite.

Their name comes from a baseball anecdote. The center fielder of the New York Mets in 1962, Richie Ashburn, was crashing again and again with Venezuelan, Elio Chacon. Every time Ashburn went for a ball, he would scream, "I got it! I got it!" only to collide with the 160 pound (73 kg) Chacon, who spoke only Spanish. Finally, Ashburn learnt to yell, "Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!" which is "I've got it" in Spanish. Ashburn happily saw Chacon backing off. He relaxed, positioned himself to catch the ball, and was run over by 200 pound (91 kg) left fielder Frank Thomas Sr. who understood no Spanish.

Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, a husband/wife duo, formed the band in 1984. They went through several other bandmembers before stabilizing with Dave Schramm and Mike Lewis for their debut recording, "The River of Water". In 1986, their first LP, Ride the Tiger, was released.

Schramm and Lewis left the band, and Stephen Wichnewski joined, with Kaplan taking on the role of lead guitar. 1987's New Wave Hot Dogs did much to establish the band's reputation among rock critics, though it sold poorly (1987). President Yo La Tengo (1989) continued this trend, with rave reviews yet poor sales.

1990 saw the release of Fakebook, an album of mostly folk tunes, including covers from Gene Clark, Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers, the Escorts, the Flamin' Groovies, the Scene Is Now, the Kinks (1990), and notably, Yo la Tengo themselves. May I Sing with Me (1992) included new bassist James McNew (of Christmas and Dump). Painful (1993), Electr-o-Pura (1995) and I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (1997) marked a steady progression towards folk-British Invasion oriented songs. They released And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out in 2000 (2000) and Summer Sun in 2003 (2003).

In 2001 they recorded an instrumental soundtrack for eight short undersea documentaries of Jean Painleve, entitled The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science. In 1996 Yo La Tengo appeared briefly as the Velvet Underground in the film "I Shot Andy Warhol."

The group collaborated with Yoko Ono to on the 2003 album called "Wig in a Box, Songs From & Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch," made as a charity album to support the Harvey Milk School.

In March of 2005 the group released a 2-disc greatest hits package, entitled Prisoners of Love. A bonus edition included a 3rd disc of rarities and unreleased tracks.

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