I Am the Greatest!

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Gray
This rerelease of Cassius Clay's legendary 1963 recording provides the champ's fans with a portrait of the pugilist as a sassy young man. Divided into eight playful "rounds" of verbal shadowboxing, I AM THE GREATEST! features young Cassius Marcellus Clay (soon to become heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali) performing his clever, boastful rhymes before a live audience of admirers. In the famous title track, Clay predicts that he's destined to be the champ: "I'm the man this poem is about/I'll be champ of the world; there isn't a doubt/Here I predict Mr. Liston's dismemberment/I'll hit him so hard he'll wonder where October and November went." On one of the CD's ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Gray
This rerelease of Cassius Clay's legendary 1963 recording provides the champ's fans with a portrait of the pugilist as a sassy young man. Divided into eight playful "rounds" of verbal shadowboxing, I AM THE GREATEST! features young Cassius Marcellus Clay (soon to become heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali) performing his clever, boastful rhymes before a live audience of admirers. In the famous title track, Clay predicts that he's destined to be the champ: "I'm the man this poem is about/I'll be champ of the world; there isn't a doubt/Here I predict Mr. Liston's dismemberment/I'll hit him so hard he'll wonder where October and November went." On one of the CD's funniest cuts, Clay begins with a parody of the "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" speech from Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESAR and then proceeds to demolish Sonny Liston rhetorically -- something he'd do for real in the ring soon enough. The CD bonus tracks include a few musical numbers not on the original LP: the single of "I Am the Greatest!" (a truncated version, cut up collage-style and backed with music), his unfortunate cover of "Stand by Me," and the "Dancin' in the Streets"-style novelty jam "The Gang's All Here." It's all a great deal of fun and a perfect example of the youthful confidence and charisma that made Ali a star of worldwide magnitude.
All Music Guide - Cub Koda
As the 20th century wound down, it was time to honor all the true greats who had inhabited its time frame. Certainly one of those deserving a tip of the hat was Muhammad Ali, who single-handedly changed boxing and how African-Americans were treated in that sport. He stands as a model of black pride, a person who stood by his beliefs no matter the cost. But turn back the clock to the early '60s and Muhammad Ali was Cassius Clay, a loudmouthed prize fighter who was making headlines by outrageous behavior both in and out of the ring. He recited poetry, yammered on incessantly about how pretty he was, and made with the promo noise not unlike that of a modern day WWF wrestler. It was big enough news back then that Columbia Records had him record an entire album of his poetry for public consumption. Hey, if the Bickersons sold, maybe this big-mouthed boxing kid would too. The result is like listening to almost any other early-'60s comedy album because, racial pride aside, that's exactly how this album was viewed and sold back then. Clay runs through a set of his poems with varied musical backing and an audience to laugh and applaud in all the right spots. Those of you old enough to remember Ali verbally sparring with Howard Cosell will hear those seeds sown right here. I Am the Greatest! is one of the strangest reissues to come down the pike in ages, but a marvelous souvenir of a simpler time in America's history.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/7/1999
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 074646536025
  • Catalog Number: 65360

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Cassius Clay Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Marianne Moore Liner Notes
Dave Kapralik Album Concept
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Vic Anesini Mastering
Randall Martin Reissue Design
Patti Matheny Reissue Producer
Gary Belkin Producer
Nicholas Bennett Packaging Manager
Milton Gross Liner Notes
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