This Week in History: Wilco Release ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ in 2002

Chicago-based band released landmark album 15 years ago

This week in history marks the 15th anniversary of Wilco’s record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The Chicago-based band’s fourth studio record saw them expand upon their familiar alt-country sound, resulting in what stands today as one of the best indie rock albums of all-time.

Originally scheduled for a September 11, 2001 release, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was deemed a “career ender” by the band’s label, Reprise Records. After being dismissed by Reprise, Wilco found itself in a bidding war between indie labels. The band began streaming the record on its website before releasing it themselves on Nonesuch Records to critical acclaim in 2002.

Much of the recording process was featured in the 2002 documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco, which highlighted the contentious relationship between frontman Jeff Tweedy and guitarist Jay Bennett, who would leave the band before the record was released.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is one of the most celebrated albums of the last 15 years and remains Wilco’s highest-selling effort to date.