On October 28, 2006, I made my first mark on the LyricWiki world with the bold creation of a page to hold Bruce Hornsby's Sticks & Stones lyrics. Since that initial creation the only other edits, I believe (and with the strangely-changed-names that were created it's kind of hard to tell), have been by bots. The song by no means was a hit, and I don't believe it was ever released as a single, but it is by my favorite artist, Bruce Hornsby. And a red link to a song that I owned and enjoyed by an artist that I own most of their creative output just wasn't sitting well with me that day.
And that's how most of us, I'm guessing, start here. We check out a page of one of our favorite artists and see something that is missing or wrong, and our love of the music forces us...impels us...to add the lyrics or change the incorrect words or spell that word correctly or do whatever it is that we find less-than-worthy of that which we love.
This initial edit was made about 7 months after the site was created. Things were still very, very new. Much of the general format of the site had been designed, but the help pages were a bit of a mess for new users such as myself. So, I did a bold thing. I opened up pages in edit mode and looked to see how well-built pages were put together. I was completely and utterly new to wiki-editing, and sometimes we old-timers (if three years can, indeed, make me an "old-timer") forget that everyone in the world isn't fluent in wiki. I certainly wasn't. I had a history of computer programming back in the days of Pascal and C, and I can "read" coding pretty well, even if I can't write it. So, while thankfully most wiki-editing is fairly straight-forward, I slowly deciphered what wasn't. When I couldn't decipher or when I didn't know if I should go ahead and change a page in a certain way, I asked. I asked Sean on occasion, but often I asked Teknomunk, who is now my fellow bureaucrat. Since I was having a bit of trouble with the site help pages (usually either being out-of-date or just plain missing information), I asked whether I should go through the help pages and re-do them. I got his blessing and away I went.
All of the templates and info that has since been added to the pages has since made the help pages longer and more detailed over the past few years, but that was my first big task: rebuilding the help pages. I had spent so much time figuring things out and updating things that I suddenly found out that I was hooked. I was listening to music outside my usual prog rock/classic rock/heartland rock comfort zone and correcting lyrics to rap and death metal and cutting edge alternative bands. I still hung out primarily with my favorite artists, but I discovered that I liked artists like Kanye West and Joe Purdy and Coldplay and The Black Eyed Peas.
I have even purchased albums merely because they were hot on the charts and there were edit wars taking place over the lyrics.
Yes...I am that much in love with the site and with the music. Because music communicates through its sound. Through the musical notes, the instruments, the choice in how it's mixed, but also through the words that are woven throughout all of this. But the words aren't always available. The Black Eyed Peas' latest album The E.N.D. is a case in point. No lyrics are available except through the internet. And ALL other sites have enormous errors in their transcription. The lyrics on some songs come so fast and with the stylized way the B.E.P. members sing or rap makes some of the phrases incredibly hard to decipher. In one song, they say "Party get started with the Kool and the Fam." That's important to the song, but go ahead...Google it. I'll wait. The only results are from LyricWiki and a site that got their lyrics from us. The others have "the cool on fan." But the B.E.P.s are claiming their ancestry in the musical universe by referring to Kool And The Gang and Sly And The Family Stone. Lyrics count.
And so, after a few months of daily toiling in the land of Lyrics, I was made a site administrator, and then eventually a site bureaucrat. (Bearcat to my friends.) I try to be most of the time just a regular editor. I don't like anyone thinking that being an admin or a b'crat means that somehow you're "above" others. On rare occasion I and other admins have had to whip out the admin badge and say "No, seriously...trust me...that's not the way to do it." I've even had to play bureaucrat and step in to put an end to some discussions that had spiraled waaaaaaay out of control. I've never liked those moments, though, because I realize that those involved were so passionate because they loved the site and wanted their darnedest to change things in a way that they perceived as best. But in the end, I had to protect what I knew was Sean's vision for the site.
You see, that's my thing. I'm loyal. Like a Golden Retriever. I chase what needs to be chased, I growl at what needs a good warning, and rip to shreds whatever vandal happens to crawl over the fence. I have stayed around for the past (nearly) three years and have spent at least a thousand hours editing, patrolling, and dealing with LyricWiki goings-on, because I believe in this site. I believe in the people that toil here daily and add a language parameter here or a Billboard Hits badge there. I believe that the lyrics are important and keep people loving the music.
I know that because of LyricWiki that I love (and have bought) more music than I otherwise would have. I love music, so I contribute here. Because I contribute here, I love music even more. Which reminds me of the line in the Beatles' song The End that says: "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
Amen, Sir Paul.