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Wilco

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Biography

Chicago, Illinois, United States (1994 – present)

Wilco is a rock band which formed in 1994 in Chicago, Illinois, United States by the remaining members of group Uncle Tupelo following singer Jay Farrar’s departure from that group. Wilco’s lineup has changed frequently, with only singer Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt remaining from the original incarnation. The other current members are guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. Wilco has released eight studio albums, a live double album, and three collaborations: two with Billy Bragg, and one with The Minus 5.

Wilco’s music has been inspired by a wide variety of artists and styles, including Bill Fay and Television, and has in turn influenced music by The National and Cherry Ghost. The band continued in the alternative country of Uncle Tupelo on its debut album A.M. (1995), but has since introduced more aspects to their music.

Wilco garnered media attention for its fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002), and the controversy surrounding it. After the recording sessions were complete, reprise records rejected the album and dismissed Wilco from the label. As part of a buy-out deal, Reprise gave Wilco the rights to the album for free. After streaming Foxtrot on its website, Wilco sold the album to Nonesuch Records in 2002. Both record labels are subsidiaries of Warner Music Group, leading one critic to say that the album showed “how screwed up the music business in the early twenty-first century.” Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is Wilco’s most successful release to date, selling over 590,000 copies. Wilco won two Grammy Awards for their fifth studio album, 2004’s A Ghost is Born, including Best Alternative Music Album.

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