Yo La Tengo is an American indie rock band based in Hoboken, New Jersey. With more than 15 albums released since their formation in 1984, they have demonstrated unusual longevity for the indie-rock scene. Although Yo La Tengo has achieved limited mainstream success, the band has garnered critical praise and attracted a devoted fan base.
The band's name comes 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!" which is "I have it" in Spanish. 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?".
The band wanted a name that sounded foreign in order to avoid any connotations in English. Kaplan is also a devoted baseball fan. However, it still irks the band when they are asked the origin of the name. The band once performed a cover of the Mets theme song "Meet the Mets" during a benefit appearance on radio station WFMU's pledge drive. A track on I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass is called "The Story of Yo La Tango" in apparent reference to an all-too-frequent misspelling of the band's name.
* Ride the Tiger (Coyote, 1986)
* New Wave Hot Dogs (Coyote/Twintone, 1987)
* President Yo La Tengo (Coyote, 1989)
* Fakebook (Bar/None Records, 1990)
* May I Sing with Me (Alias Records, 1992)
* Painful (Matador, 1993)
* Electr-O-Pura (Matador, 1995)
* I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (Matador, 1997)
* And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (Matador, 2000); US #138
* Summer Sun (Matador, 2003); US #115
* I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador, 2006); US #66
* Fuckbook (released under the name Condo Fucks (Matador, 2009)
* Popular Songs (Matador, 2009)