Throwback To 1964 And The Iconic Photo Of Ringo Starr And Muhammad Ali
Do you recall this particular photo? It looks candid and while some people said it’s staged, The Beatles’ Ringo Starr said it wasn’t. You see, when the legendary band met Muhammad Ali who was known as Cassius Clay at the time, they didn’t know much about each other. In fact, the boys were betting on Sonny Liston (Clay’s opponent in a boxing match a week after their meeting). But, owing mostly to Ali’s charm and sense of humor, it didn’t take long for them to start goofing around and when their photo was taken, it ended up being a very memorable one.
Just after Ali’s passing, Ringo sat down for a short talk with the Rolling Stone magazine and he shared the story behind the picture:
“His cross to bear was that everybody you see him in a photo with – whether it’s Mandela, on a talk show, anybody – it’s always the punch photo.” He chuckles, adding capitals with his voice. “It’s always ‘The Punch Photo’! We were ‘The Punch Photo’!”
“And then he’s carrying me. I don’t know why, he just picked me up!” Starr says. “It wasn’t like, ‘OK, pick him up now!’ He just suddenly did. …he just grabbed me and lifted me up! What was I gonna say? ‘Hey, come outside. …'” The drummer raises his fists, but his mock-tough expression quickly breaks into a grin. “We only got out of the ring because he put me down.”
Ringo ended the interview with this beautiful and moving description of Ali.
“He was powerful. He was just physically and spiritually powerful,” remembers Starr. “He was just great. He’s a huge loss.”