Friday, May 1, 2020

„You'll Never Walk Alone“

At the beginning of April 2020, when the Corona crisis had also become more and more threatening in Great Britain, the former officer of the British Army Captain Thomas Moore decided to thank the doctors and nurses of the NHS. They had lovingly cared for him during his skin cancer treatment and hip surgery in hospital and he wanted to do something good for all those who help with their work to overcome the crisis.

He started walking back and forth with his walker on his property 25 m on the 6th of April, with the aim of doing 10 laps a day. With his campaign he called for donations to the NHS Charities Together, a consortium of over 250 charities that support the National Health Service (NHS) with their work. By his 100th birthday on 30 April, he wanted to collect 1,000 British pounds.

This goal had already been achieved on 10th April and after the media around the world became aware of it, the amount donated grew exponentially. By the end of April 30, 2020, more than 1.5 million people had donated a total of £ 32,795,497.

When Captain Moore had completed his 100th round, Michael Ball sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" live on BBC Breakfast. Within a day, it became a digital single with Michael Ball's singing and the NHS Voices of Care Choir and the spoken words of Captain Tom. It was immediately released by Decca Records and reached number 1 in the weekly UK single charts on April 24, 2020. This made Thomas Moore the oldest artist ever to reach #1 in the charts and earned him an entry in the Guinness List of World Records.

He received a second entry in the Guinness List for the fundraising campaign that raised the largest amount of money in an individual collection. On his birthday he received over 150,000 birthday cards and many other honors. He received the Pride of Britain Award and was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

COVER.INFO would also like to congratulate him on his birthday and wish him strength and health for many more 25 m rounds.



Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Our most important sources

The article of 26 March 2020 explained how new entries come about. To conclude our series of articles on the occasion of 20 years of COVER.INFO, we now would like to reveal which sources we mainly use when checking new song entries.

By far the most important source for us is the Discogs database because it is one of the largest sound-carrier databases on the net. This is where the search usually begins and when a corresponding sound carrier is found, we usually try to confirm the information with other sources. What works very well with Discogs is the artist and author database in the background. Most of the information about the persons is well-founded, often with additional information and usually there are also links to the corresponding Wikipedia articles. And almost always you will find pictures of the cover, the record label, often also the back cover, up to pictures of multi-page inlays.

Discogs tries to display the song titles exactly as they appear on the sound carriers, but a controlling look at the illustrated covers or labels is always appropriate. First and foremost, music-loving users enter their albums and CDs and sometimes they simply make typing errors. Caution is also advised with the dates entered for the sound carriers. One cannot always rely on that. Thus we often look for other sources.

A very important source to find out the authors is the database of the GEMA, a German collecting society. It is not easy to use, but once you have familiarized yourself with the system, you can be sure to find the right composer and lyricist. Often the database contains their complete civil name, so that we can complete the author, who is abbreviated on the record with only the initial letter of the first name, for the purpose of our database.

Since the redesign of our website we also have the possibility to include videos as audio samples. Therefor we are using YouTube. But you can't always find the song you're looking for there, and so we can try to make comparisons between the original and the cover with the 30-second audio samples, for example on Amazon, AllMusic or the Swiss Hit Parade.

The data on authors should not be overestimated when coming from the record companies themselves. Then suddenly the arranger or the producer appears as an author on the record label, or completely wrong authors are given. We had a particularly curious case recently. A user of our site from Texas wrote us that he met the daughter of T-Bone Walker at an event. She complained about the fact that her father's song "Stormy Monday Blues" is credited on many records as Eckstine, Crowder and Hines who also wrote a song with that name. We checked this immediately for the entries in our database and of course a lot of songs were wrongly assigned. T-Bone Walker's work is actually called "Call It Stormy Monday But Tuesday Is Just As Bad", but as many artists simply shortened it to "Stormy Monday Blues" for their cover versions, this confusion is the result.

You can write a lot more about this topic, but we want to let it end for the moment with this little look into the engine room of our website. Over the next few months, we'd like to give you an insight into special areas of music here on the blog and show you how we do research there. And finally our request is: be attentive and if you find any mistakes, please let us know!


Thursday, March 26, 2020

How new entries are created

The COVER.INFO editors are constantly expanding the database. Everyone can follow the growth: The latest entries are displayed on the home page, for example. Creating new data records is manual work even though we are now supported by input help. But where does COVER.INFO actually get supplies from?

What might be considered the most reliable source is none. Directly from the producer, i.e. the music industry, we get nothing. Nor do we know whether relevant data can be obtained from them in a bundled and machine-readable form, possibly for a fee. It is not even proven that record companies even record which of their products are cover versions or contain quotes (and then which ones). Presumably, from a business point of view, there is hardly any reason to use resources for this.

So we have no choice but to take matters into our own hands. Fortunately, we're not entirely on our own. In the course of the past 20 years, many valuable tips have reached us from our visitors. We are very happy about more of them.

Inspiration for new entries can be found quickly by reading Wikipedia. Many popular songs are described in their own articles, which often include cover versions. Simple copying is prohibited, because not everything is true or relevant. However, the information is always good as a basis for further research.

Sometimes a look at your own record collection is enough. Some of the songs that can be found on the discs on our home shelves turn out to be cover versions that have not yet been registered.

All editors go through their everyday life sensitized to the topic of their hobby. It can happen that a text or a melody on the radio seems familiar and that you follow up on it. Ideally, the presenter already gives a hint, otherwise we do our own research. Since many radio stations provide playlists on the web, it is often easy to get at least the names of the candidates and can then look at them in peace.

Of course, broadcasters also explicitly present cover versions, whether new or old. It is then of course a matter of honor for an editor to check whether a database entry already exists for this publication. If not, it will be created.

We also read reviews of new and older records and find the hint that a certain song is a cover version. In general, helpful information can always be found in the media.

If it is clear from the start that there is a pure cover album, the thing is not necessarily a sure thing, because one does not necessarily know anything about the originals. That is where research begins. How quickly an editor has worked through all the individual titles in such a case depends on his or her own knowledge, the published detailed information such as authors and the data already available in our database. Provided that all the pieces in the original have been proven to be by a specific artist, one at least has a clear starting point.

During your own investigations it is almost inevitable that you will come across further interesting material. So the influx of fresh material does not dry up. But it also means that the whole thing is a bottomless pit. COVER.INFO continues to see itself as an attempt to somehow control the flood within the bounds of possibility and in accordance with our rules.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Judgement in the "Stairway To Heaven" case

A legal dispute lasting for years, whether the beginning of Led Zeppelin's song "Stairway To Heaven" was copied from the song "Taurus" by the band Spirit, has now been decided in favor of the British band Led Zeppelin.

A judgement from 2016 had been annulled in 2018 due to a formal error. This complaint by the executor of the estate of the Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, who died in 1997, is about royalties in the millions.

However, the plaintiff's lawyer now wants to examine whether he can dispute the decision of the court of appeal.