Muhammad Ali meeting the Beatles gave us these brilliant pictures
In early 1964, they were not yet icons. That would change quickly.
Image: AP Photo
They were stars from two separate worlds — an American athlete and a shaggy bunch of adolescent British rockers. It was an unlikely meeting that made for a perfect photo op, like Elvis shaking hands with Nixon. Only, in February of 1964, the fascinating thing about the Beatles meeting Muhammad Ali was that Ali was not yet Ali and the Beatles were fresh off the boat. In a matter of months, Cassius Clay would be heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali and the Beatles would be record-setting recording artists.
The Fab Four had been on American soil for 11 days, and their stateside debut, Introducing the Beatles, had hit record shops just five weeks prior. John, Paul, George and Ringo were relaxing in Miami Beach when they were taken to the 5th Street Gym to bump fists with the 7-1 underdog. The boxer was deep into training for his fight with Sonny Liston the following week. "Hello there, Beatles!" he announced when he entered. "We oughta do some roadshows together. We'll get rich!" He understandably had little to no idea who they were.
Harry Benson, the photographer capturing the Beatles on their U.S. tour, was there to immortalize the meeting in pictures. As the world continues to mourn the passing of Muhammad Ali, we wanted to spotlight this one brilliant moment in his life, a confluence of 20th-century legends we will never see again.