Muhammad Ali and reuniting the Beatles

Just think of the photographs snapped of Muhammad Ali and the Beatles. Put together they would reach the moon and back. Muhammad Ali was probably the most famous person in the world in the 20th century. Kids on remote islands in the middle of nowhere knew about Ali. The two were truly the greatest in their fields.

Muhammad Ali played with the idea of reuniting the Beatles in the 1970s.

The two culture icons would meet on February 18, 1964 right after the Beatles broke through America. The Beatles wanted to meet Sonny Liston because he was favored 7-1 to win the match between him and Ali but Sonny declined to meet them.

By all accounts, Ali had no idea who The Beatles were. But he welcomed the opportunity for some extra publicity with them. Although The Beatles fumed because the soon-to-be-new champ was late and kept them waiting, when he arrived he quickly broke the ice with his opening line, which has since been reported as either: “Hey, Beatles, let’s go make some money!”; or the equally memorable: “Hello there, Beatles! We oughta do some roadshows together. We’ll get rich!”

At one point, Ali used one of his favorite lines at the time, telling the Beatles: “You ain’t as dumb as you look!”

Lennon… but of course… shot back: “No. But you are!”

After a nervous silence…everyone started to laugh. Ali made up one of his rhymes.  “When Liston reads about The Beatles visiting me / He’ll get so mad, I’ll knock him out in three!” It actually took 6 rounds for Ali to win on February 25, 1964…Sonny wouldn’t return for the 7th.

Joel Sacher was attending the inauguration gala for President Jimmy Carter. He was there as a personal guest of Muhammad Ali, maybe the most recognizable man on the planet at the time. Ali and Sacher were meeting with one of the few men who was almost as recognizable Ali. They were talking to John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, and while the conversation included plenty of nostalgia about meeting the Beatles in Miami long ago.

Ali was armed with a proposal, one that was the brainchild of Sacher and a business associate that had the potential to stun the world. They wanted to reunite The Beatles.

In 1976 inventor Alan Amron and businessman Joel Sacher partnered with Ali to promote The International Committee to Reunite the Beatles. They asked fans worldwide to contribute a dollar each. Ali said the idea was to use the proceeds to establish an international agency to help poor children. “This is money to help people all over the world”, he said. He added, “I love the music. I used to train to their music.” He said a reunion of the Beatles “would make a lot of people happy.”  The  Beatles were indifferent to the plan. No reunion happened.

Here is a PDF of a newspaper article describing Ali’s plan. It was a nice gesture. Ali and the Beatles.pdf

The International Committee to Reunite the Beatles released a single called “Get Back Beatles” and it was released by singer-songwriter Gerald Kenny.

The Beatles turned down big-time money in the seventies and didn’t reunite. Personally, I’m happy they didn’t…no way could they have lived up to people’s expectations.

The forgotten story of how Muhammad Ali and a Jersey guy tried to ...

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After Muhammad Ali died


Paul McCartney:

 “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 humor 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.

Ringo Starr:

“I taught (Ali) everything he knew!” Starr said, before growing more – and less – serious. “That was a thrill, of course, and I was putting my money on Liston, so I really knew what was happening!”

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

21 thoughts on “Muhammad Ali and reuniting the Beatles”

  1. Great post. My favorite music artists and my favorite ever sports hero- in the same post. I always laugh at that Lennon comeback to Muhammad back in 1964. Few could match Muhammad but he wasn’t going to out mouth The Beatles!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thaks Hans…I know I read about this at some point…but I totally forgot. I searched for a quote but I couldn’t find it. I want to say it was George but maybe it was John…this was the event I think it was about. To paraphrase it… one of them said…”it’s not right to lay the world’s problem at our feet.” I have to agree with that. It was a guilt trip into reuniting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was rooting for Sonny Liston in that fight also because I thought that Cassius Clay had a big mouth, but eventually I warmed up to Muhammad Ali, because he was a great fighter and I realized that he was also a great showman.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That what it seemed to be…all about the show. Frazier never got that and took it personal. It is said that Ali thought the world of him. Ali really helped the sport.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks a lot! I hope you enjoy the new version. I’m really happy with it. I have some of the old articles, and some new ones, too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting! Have seen a photo or two of them together in the past, but didn’t know they had any real relationship. But like you say, a mid-’70s reunion might not have been great for anyone involved.
    Over 50 years later, seems like The Beatles, and pop/rock are still relevant (although in case of pop & rock, not as much as we’d like) but boxing now seems like an archaic oddity from such a long bygone era.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One of them commented…either John or George to paraphrase it…It’s not right to lay the worlds problem at our feet to solve…

      Boxing has gone the way of the dodo bird…I think football will follow the same route after all of the CTE deaths.

      I really enjoyed boxing as a kid…we had Ali, Foreman, and Fraizer.


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