I manually manage my music. I have set this in preferences by unchecking the "copy music to library" and "have iTunes organize your music". One result of this is if I delete a track in iTunes I also have to hunt down the actual file to delete it. I am wondering if your have somehow managed to get the same thing set up with your iTunes. Check the preferences settings. I want my settings like that, but it isn't for everybody.
Have you first tried simply reinstalling Lion?
Nothing in your user folders will be affected. (but you do maintain current backup, correct?)
If I backup the whole iTunes library and do the reinstall and IMPORT everything fresh will I lose my lyrics, edited start times, and artwork and such?
You will lose some info.
Just make sure you have a backup of the entire /Music/iTunes/ folder before you start messing around.
If you end up wiping the drive and reinstalling the OS (simply reinstall the OS first and see what happens) then just copy the iTunes folder from the backup to /Music/. All data will be the same
I did the reinstall via Recovery, and have to admit it was pretty sweet that everything just came back.
Unfortunately, there have been intermittent probs.
I believe you may be suggesting a reinstall from scratch though, which is my intent at this point. Haven't done it yet. I do maintain a backup, yes.
I thought simply re-copying the iTunes folder might bring any crud along with it, but I don't suppose it would hurt to try. Then I can avoid the stuff I'm hoping to.