When is an artist sort name useful for a groupname?

Please have a look at the artist calld “Too Slim and the Taildraggers”:

Can someone tell me, why a sort name like
"Slim, Too and Taildraggers, The"
can be useful?

I see the point for groups with a leading “The” like “The Beatles”.

But what about examples like:
"Norma Beasler & The Rosebud Orchestra"

with the sort name: “Beasler, Norma & Rosebud Orchestra, The”

Assuming “Too Slim” and “Norma Beasler” are names, that’s how names are conventionally sorted at least in western countries – last name followed by first name.

And as you mention with the Beatles, conventionally articles are moved to the end leaving the main name at the front.

If “Too Slim” is not a name then it should probably be changed to “Too Slim and Taildraggers, The”. If it’s a pseudonym I’m not sure (since I guess a fictitious last name is still a last name…but this seems like a grey area.)

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[quote=“Hawke, post:2, topic:171575”]If “Too Slim” is not a name then it should probably be changed to “Too Slim and Taildraggers, The”[/quote]According to the official webseite http://www.tooslim.org/ and Wikipedia “Too Slim” is is an alias for the real person Tim Langford. But it seems also an abbreviation for the full groupname “Too Slim and the Taildraggers”.

How important is the information on Wikidata: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q7823961 ?

I think that a sort name like “Taildraggers, Too Slim and the” could be useful. Think of a record shop, how and under what letter it will sort the band, probably under T but not of Too, but of what they are: the Taildraggers. And then in this case is added to the band “Too Slim” and if that is a featured artist the sort name also could be “Slim, Too and the Taildraggers

For the Beatles the same: people are not looking for artists named “The” but for artists named “Beatles” so that’s why the sort name is: “Beatles, The” and at the record shop it will be at the letter B.

This one you also can sort in two ways, depending which artist you want to feature: Norma Beasler or The Rosebud Orchestra. In the first case, featuring Norma Beasler, you could give the sort name “Beasler, Norma & The Rosebud Orchestra”. In the second case, featuring The Rosebud Orchestra, you could give the sort name: “Rosebud Orchestra, Norma Beasler & The”.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

UPDATE: edited in “Beasler, Norma and The Rosebud Orchestra” the word “and” into “&” as it was a typo but there seems to be discussion about it, so better correct it! Though it had no substantive meaning at all, using “and” instead of “&”

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I don’t think you’d ever do that, for the same reason that you wouldn’t do “The Beatles”: People aren’t looking for “The”.

I also don’t think you’d put the Rosebud Orchestra first, simply because the band didn’t – they put the lead artist first and we should follow their lead.

Why is this useful? I’m going to split this into two parts.

Beasler, Norma
The idea is that given a list of artists, you might want to sort it according to the familiar convention used in brick-n-mortar music stores.

This sytem assumes that if you go to “D” looking for Miles Davis, you probably also expect to find ‘The Miles Davis Quintet’ .

& Rosebud Orchestra, The
IMO this is almost completely useless.

  1. Moving “the” to the end will almost never change the order of your list.
  2. Including the join phrase is goofy. It only adds noise.

Does that make sense?

Consider if Norma Beasler has had many backup bands over the years:

  • Beasler, Norma & Her Backup Band
  • Beasler, Norma & Rosebud Orchestra, The
  • Beasler, Norma & Rosewater Lemonade

(Since Norma probably did not have a lot of backup bands, you’re right that it’s almost completely useless, but it doesn’t really harm anything either so might as well stick with it.)


True, “the” makes a small difference here.

“&” makes a bigger one, and there’s no guideline suggesting that we standardize “&” vs “and” vs “with” vs “feat” vs “vs” :slight_smile:

I would hope any sorting system would treat “&” as equivalent to “and”.

However, it’s hard to see any effects of the sortnames when the Internet paradigm is more search-oriented than manual-index-oriented.

hopefully now no discussion anymore about this typo :slight_smile:

It does however distiguish between Norma Bealer on her own , and not on her own, i.e Norma Beasler on her own would come first.

But when a sort name contains multiple artists I would be tempted to standardize on using a ‘;’ to separate each artist and a ‘,’ to seperate last name, first name of an artist and ignore other join phrases

i.e Beasler, Norma; Rosebud Orchestra, The


“Too Slim” is not a name in the meaning of first + last name. It’s a nickname and/or stage name of Tim Langford (https://musicbrainz.org/artist/a224c5b0-573f-4719-939e-6c8586e44f48), complete as Tim “Too Slim” Langford.

This nickname is used in combination for a band name but since the nickname is not in the meaning of first + last name, this rule should not be used.

For me the correct sort name, based on the MusicBrainz rules, would be
“Too Slim and the Taildraggers” (see https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Artist/Sort_Name and https://musicbrainz.org/artist/b3120863-d98d-4bad-a637-8abd8cde6685), which is the artist name in this case.

The actual sort name is “Slim, Too and Taildraggers, The” and for me it’s wrong and just crazy. I also don’t see any reason to write “The” capitalized here (even if the rule of moving the article to the end would be in force), because it’s not capitalized in the full group name.

Please note guideline 2: “Group artist names beginning with an article …” and “Where a real person’s name appears in a group artist’s name, the artist’s sort name should be the sort name for that person, followed by the remainder of the group artist’s name.
I.e. The rule for the article is just for the first article of a group name and only if the group name beginn with an article.

BTW: A change of the order of the sub-members is a no-go.