Despite being known as “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali's talents are generally regarded as being just inside the ring though a little known fact is that Ali actually recorded an album of sorts in 1963 when he was still known as Cassius Clay and before he had even become the world champion.

The original LP, "I Am The Greatest" was released in 1963 on vinyl and consisted of just 9 tracks, all of which were spoken word tracks with the start of their names corresponding to a boxing round. For example the opening track (A1) was “Round 1: I Am The Greatest” with the final track (B5) being “Round 9: Afterpiece”.

In 1998 the album was re-released on CD with an additional track, a cover of Ben E. King's legendary track “Stand By Me” which King had released in 1961. Ali had recorded this in 1963 around the same time as he had recorded the rest of the album but sadly the track hadn't made it's way on to the original LP.

The album was then re-released the following year (1999) again on CD and featured an additional 2 tracks both of which feature Ali singing. Those additional songs were “I Am The Greatest” and “The Gang's All Here”. Like “Stand By Me”, “I Am The Greatest” was recorded around the same time as the rest of the album whilst “The Gang's All Here” was recorded the following year, in fact it was recorded just says after Clay beat Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight title.

Whilst the album is admittedly not something that will have any old music fan chasing it down it is something that may appeal to a number of boxing fans and is worth at least sampling...below you can hear Ali's rendition of Stand By Me (thanks to Sids60sSounds)

 


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