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Yo La Tengo

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Hoboken, New York NJ, United States (1984 – present)

Yo La Tengo is an American band formed in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1984. Since 1992, the lineup has consisted of Ira Kaplan (guitars, vocals), Georgia Hubley (drums, vocals), and James McNew (bass, vocals).

Despite achieving limited success, Yo La Tengo has been called “the quintessential critics’ band” and maintain a strong cult following. Additionally, the band is renowned for its encyclopedic repertoire of songs both in performance and on record.

Formation and Early History:

Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, a husband/wife duo, formed the band in 1984. They chose the name “Yo La Tengo” (Spanish for “I’ve got it!”) in an effort to avoid any connotations in English. The name came from a baseball anecdote. During the 1962 season, New York Mets center fielder Richie Ashburn and Venezuelan shortstop Elio Chacón found themselves colliding in the outfield. When Ashburn went for a catch, he would scream, “I got it! I got it!” only to run into Chacón, who spoke only Spanish. Ashburn learned to yell, “¡Yo la tengo! ¡Yo la tengo!” instead. In a later game, Ashburn happily saw Chacón backing off. He relaxed, positioned himself to catch the ball, and was instead run over by left fielder Frank Thomas, who understood no Spanish and had missed a team meeting that proposed using the words “¡Yo la tengo! as a way to avoid outfield collisions. After getting up, Thomas asked Ashburn, “What the heck is a Yellow Tango?”.

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