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Best St. Louisan of 2001

Joe Edwards

His biggest fan is his wife, who describes him as an honorable guy who always holds to his word. When asked what made her fall in love with him, more than 30 years ago, Linda confesses, with a rueful laugh, that it was probably "his stuff": "I spent a week in his apartment. I looked around and thought, 'I really like this guy.' All these little oddball things, quirky stuff -- a Superman lunchbox, things like that -- beautiful furniture from his grandmother and then just junk. A very American mix of stuff -- his love of pop culture and his sensibilities in what he picked and chose."

Even according to less biased sources, Edwards is, if not an actual saint, an entrepreneur of the highest order and a convincing argument for human cloning. (OK, it's illegal and probably unethical, but just imagine if South Grand, if Cherokee, if Midtown had a Joe Edwards!) Tom "Papa" Ray, local blues aficionado and Vintage Vinyl co-owner, calls Edwards a "consistent gentleman who's had a lot of positive influence and who's been a real help to the music scene -- and who's still got his ponytail."

Jill Posey-Smith, a former employee of Blueberry Hill and an occasional RFT contributor, describes Edwards' legacy: "I worked for Joe for 13 years. I watched him build his little empire from a storefront dive to the epic superpower it is today. Having witnessed firsthand how he dealt with floods, bomb threats, earthquakes, power outages, betrayals, politics, partisanship, rock stars and the media, I can only say that I'd feel a lot better if he were running the country right now instead of GWB. Unlike the federal government, I have never known Blueberry Hill to shut down."

Here's to the obvious choice.

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