So Nora and I were listening to Rubber Soul the other day, and during the piano solo in the middle of "In My Life," she wondered who played it. She guessed George Martin. I have Wikipedia as one of the search engines in the upper right of my browser, so I typed in "In My Life," and voila, it went right to an entire entry on that song!
I figured it would take me, at best to the Rubber Soul page...at best. My assumption was that I'd have to refine my search a bit. As Samuel Jackson said in The Long Kiss Goodnight, "Assumption makes an ass out of you and Umption." (A line written by Shane Black, who's written some great ones.
The story on the piano solo? There was a whole section of the article devoted to it! Still unsure what to do with the middle section, John left it empty. He settled on the idea of a piano solo, and asked George Martin to play it "like Bach." (Ahhhh, Nora's right again!) George wrote something he couldn't play fast enough, so he played it half-speed, and recorded it at double-speed! There was no way to get either of those precisely right, of course. The difference gave the piano a tone tending toward the harpsichord-esque, yet still unmistakably sounding like a piano.
It's a really complete entry, with other sections devoted to musical analysis ("It is a chromatically altered plagal cadence"...but you knew that), the composition process, chart position, and much more.
It's also got a complete set of links. I followed the one for "Fifth Beatle," wherein George Martin states firmly that the title should only be applied to Brian Epstein...if it's applied at all. He's not convinced there was any such thing...although I think it should be applied to GM regardless of his (genuine, I think) humility.
I was impressed! It reminded me that I go to Wikipedia repeatedly most days, so I took the opportunity to make it my default search engine.
In a way, it's not a website, and certainly not a search engine. It's more a community for a group of obsessives, self-organized by their interests. As a knowledge base, it's self-correcting. Sound familiar?