Almost anything—animate objects, inanimate objects, places, concepts, events, properties, and relationships—may be classified according to some taxonomic scheme.
... even The Beatles.
Classifying and organizing the music, life, and times of The Beatles for the web is a bit more challenging than it looks. The Beatles catalog is as vast as it is complicated. I can't count how many times I've torn down and rebuilt the site's architecture and remigrated the data only to discover still more complexities and nuances that I'd need to account for which meant that it had to be torn down again.
I wanted to create this page in order to make some mental notes about the methodology I used in building, categorizing... indeed, taxonomizing the work of The Beatles.
Choosing a "Primary Release"
Even little things can prove challenging. For example, it wasn't really an easy decision to decide which release to choose to accompany, say, Hey Jude on our Beatles song page since it first came out as a single, has appeared on numerous compilations, and even has its own self-titled compilation called Hey Jude... and there was only space to show one of them.
To match the song with its "releases", I ended up making two fields for the data, one for all of the releases (single, EP, LP, etc.) that featured the song (which I didn't include in the main songs list because there's not enough room) and another I'm calling "Primary release" which is a release on which the song appears that's still in print and relatively popular. The cascading order of importance I used was:
- Original UK + MMT
- Let It Be... Naked
- Red Album & Blue Album
- Live at the BBC
- Past Masters
Seemed to work fine. Past Masters, which is basically a collection of all the various Beatles singles without much personality, I placed at the end. 1, the Red and Blue albums, Live at the BBC, and Anthology all were very well done (unlike most of the compilation albums that predated them). Don't Let Me Down, which is my favorite Beatles song, is the only one with Let It Be... Naked as the listed album, though it also appears on the Blue Album.