In The Beginning

Numbers are relative. Ask a teenager about 35 years, and you may as well ask about 70. Once you’ve put 35 years in the bank, however, the number shrinks considerably.

As we celebrate our 35th anniversary this year, we’ve come to see the “big 3-5” from both directions. We’re proud to have been a presence in the Memphis community for a period of time that swallows many publications, but at the same time look forward to making that number larger and larger in the years (and anniversaries) ahead.

As we brainstormed our 28th annual City Guide — it took us seven years to establish the format — we wondered how we could best celebrate the countless people, places, and things that have made the Bluff City worth covering over the last 35 years. And we found ourselves making lists. Thirty-five of them, to be exact.

Sure, Elvis Presley made an impact felt to this day (and around the world). But what other musicians have we loved (and lost) since 1976? Music and celebrity aside, are there other Memphians we lost too soon?

What are the prettiest buildings in town? How about the tallest? There must be a few ways to stay cool in a Memphis summer. How about insults to our fair city that continue to make us hot?

You get the idea. Considering we have only so many pages on which to print, we limited each list to five favorites, presented in orders that vary from chronology to rank. (Looking for a tough list to cut at five? Try naming just five great Memphis Tiger basketball players over the last 35 years.) Once the lists were in order and we were able to review, we realized what should have been obvious: The 175 people, places, and things we selected are merely the beginning. Too much to love about Memphis to include in only 35 lists. So onward we go. (Turn to page 32 for the first list.)

Beyond lists, you’ll find in this issue the features that have come to serve as the backbone of City Guide. Comprehensive information on dining, schools, and hospitals. Fun and flavorful looks at nightlife, music, and sports. And, of course, our annual “Who’s Who.” Our selection of 175 things we love — or don’t — about Memphis was a challenge that merely approximates the annual compilation of 100 Memphians who make the greatest impact on our city today. As with every year, we’ve certainly overlooked a few deserving movers and shakers. (Let us know at But like the 35 lists, the selection of “Who’s Who” inspires us, as Memphis has always been, foremost, about the people of our community.

Finally, a nod to the advertisers who have made City Guide an essential annual buy. We may flatter ourselves with the comprehensive lists and colorful spreads, but there’s no way the magazine you’re holding is as thick as it is without the tremendous support of our advertising friends.

Enjoy the read, as we consider a 36th list.

     Frank Murtaugh
     Managing Editor

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