Remember When Muhammad Ali Met The Beatles For The First Time?
Memorable Day, Indeed!
A day after the death of Muhammad Ali, the only surviving members of The Beatles, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, both released statements paying tribute to the legendary boxer.
God bless Muhammad Ali peace and love to all his family. ?✌️??
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) June 4, 2016
Paul also wrote this on his website:
“Dear Muhammad Ali. I loved that man. He was great from the first day we met him in Miami, and on the numerous occasions when I ran into him over the years. Besides being the greatest boxer, he was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humour who would often pull a pack of cards out of his pocket, no matter how posh the occasion, and do a card trick for you. The world has lost a truly great man. Love Paul”
The Beatles met Ali way back on February 18, 1964 at the 5th Street Gym in Miami. It was a week before Cassius Clay, Ali’s name back then, won his very first World Heavyweight Championship title against Sonny Liston while The Beatles just made their iconic debut on The Ed Sullivan Show merely nine days prior.
Despite making names in their respective fields, the band didn’t know much about Ali and vice versa. They were initially there because of a photo-op set-up.
As Ringo put it during a recent interview with the Rolling Stone magazine:
“In all honesty, we didn’t know one boxer from another,” he recalls. “That’s how it worked out – somebody set it up.”
In “The Beatles Anthology” book, George Harrison recalls:
“We were taken to meet him on that first trip. It was all part of being a Beatle, really, just getting lugged around and thrust into rooms full of press men taking pictures and asking questions.”
But given that Ali exuded magnetic charm about him, they easily felt comfortable with each other and eventually began clowning around. Though there were other photos taken during that meeting, one that really stood out was when Ali was carrying Ringo Starr. Can I just say, it was picture perfect?