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  1. #1

    Muhammad Ali & Motown

    Was there any kind of relationship between Ali and Motown?

    They were all young and conquering the world and capturing the minds and hearts of young black America in the mid 60s but in all the Ali and Motown books I've read there wasn't anything mentioned that I can remember

    The books did mention that Ali seemed to personally prefer older music like Chubby Checker and I don't think any Motown acts were at the Foreman fight in Zaire (the Spinners were there but this was past their time at Motown)

    Did Ali not care for the music, the artists? Berry?

    Berry was a boxer but I've never read any Ali related comments from him

    There was more than a few Ali inspired songs in the 60s and 70s

    Did a Motown act ever do one?

    It just came to me and I thought that it was odd that as important as each was at that time Motown and Ali didn't seem to have much if anything to do with each other

    Is that right? And if so does anyone know why?

    https://www.amazon.com/Hits-Misses-Muhammad-Ultimate-Sound/dp/B0001DMVMQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=hits+and+misses+muhammad+ali&q id=1557870937&s=music&sr=1-1-catcorr

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    Last edited by Optimal Saint; 05-14-2019 at 06:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Diana and Muhammad were close. In his autobiography, The Greatest, he describes a scene backstage after (IIRC) Norton defeated him of a skinny Black woman screaming and clawing to get to him. It turned out to be Diana, who, through tears and dismay, choked out, "But you the champ!" And, of course, Ali appeared on her 1980 CBS TV special.

    There also photos of Ali mugging and playfighting with The Jacksons, but I believe they were at CBS at the time. And I know this is tangential, but Lola Falana may still have been signed to Motown when he appeared on one of her specials.

  3. #3
    I do remember reading about Diana after a loss before

    Iíd forgotten and now that you mention it I do remember a picture of him with the Jacksons in the ending montage of When We Were Kings documentary

    Didnít know about Dianaís special

    On a side note why isnít there DVD box set of the Motown TV specials?

  4. #4
    In a late 70s article, Muhammed said that Diana was one of his favorite female vocalists, along with Aretha and Natalie Cole.

  5. #5
    Ali was also a guest on the Tonight Show when Diana hosted.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Optimal Saint View Post
    Was there any kind of relationship between Ali and Motown?

    They were all young and conquering the world and capturing the minds and hearts of young black America in the mid 60s but in all the Ali and Motown books I've read there wasn't anything mentioned that I can remember

    The books did mention that Ali seemed to personally prefer older music like Chubby Checker and I don't think any Motown acts were at the Foreman fight in Zaire (the Spinners were there but this was past their time at Motown)

    Did Ali not care for the music, the artists? Berry?

    Berry was a boxer but I've never read any Ali related comments from him

    There was more than a few Ali inspired songs in the 60s and 70s

    Did a Motown act ever do one?

    It just came to me and I thought that it was odd that as important as each was at that time Motown and Ali didn't seem to have much if anything to do with each other

    Is that right? And if so does anyone know why?

    https://www.amazon.com/Hits-Misses-Muhammad-Ultimate-Sound/dp/B0001DMVMQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=hits+and+misses+muhammad+ali&q id=1557870937&s=music&sr=1-1-catcorr

    Name:  hits misses.jpg
Views: 201
Size:  34.7 KB
    Ali knew most of the Classic Motown artists. Back in the 70s he even did a television commercial for a radio station where he listed off the Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops etc as his favorite groups. He was personal friends with several like Mary Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves, etc etc. He was also a family friend of my family. He said his favorite was the Four Tops "I Can't Help Myself".

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Diana and Muhammad were close. In his autobiography, The Greatest, he describes a scene backstage after (IIRC) Norton defeated him of a skinny Black woman screaming and clawing to get to him. It turned out to be Diana, who, through tears and dismay, choked out, "But you the champ!" And, of course, Ali appeared on her 1980 CBS TV special.

    There also photos of Ali mugging and playfighting with The Jacksons, but I believe they were at CBS at the time. And I know this is tangential, but Lola Falana may still have been signed to Motown when he appeared on one of her specials.
    At the time of Ali's passing, we had a thread with various pictures of Ali and different music legends. Several were of him with Motown artists. I remember Ali bought a farm in Michigan and lived there for years.

  9. #9
    I just watched the new 2-part feature HBO on Muhammad Ali the other night. The show was very good and featured many of the highlights of Ali's career. One clip showed the stars who showed up for the Ali vs. Frasier fight at MSG in 1971 (including Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin & Bill Cosby).

  10. #10
    Motown artist turned up at several of Ali's fights. Remember "Ali vs Quarry"?

    "And what a display it was. Ali vs Quarry was less an athletic contest than a coronation, the triumphant return of the king. The elite of black America descended upon Atlanta that night; Bert Sugar later called it “the greatest collection of black power and black money ever assembled.” Among the celebrities present were Diana Ross, Jesse Jackson, Sidney Poitier, Curtis Mayfield, Mary Wilson, Arthur Ashe, Julian Bond, Whitney Young, plus a host of flamboyant hustlers and high rollers from the fast lane. George Plimpton recalled the men in ankle-length fur coats or with “felt hatbands and feathered capes … stilted shoes, the heels like polished ebony, and many smoking stuff in odd meerschaum pipes.” It was a kind of crowd and scene never witnessed before at a major sporting event."

    https://www.thefightcity.com/muhamma...-jerry-quarry/

  11. #11
    The Ali vs Ron Lyle fight:


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