Picking America's Best

Jan Simpson, our arts editor, is no stranger to lists. Every December she oversees our 10 Best selections of movies, books, CDs and the like, and three years ago she came up with the artists-and-entertainers contingent for our TIME 100 series on the 20th century's most influential people. But little of that prepared her for this week's cover, the first installment of our America's Best series. "We had to come up with people we were sure were not just one-year wonders, but we also weren't interested in handing out Lifetime Achievement awards to folks whose best work was behind them. We...

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