To his fans, Muhammad Ali is still the greatest. But when the artist formerly known as Cassius Clay released his album, "I Am The Greatest!" in 1963, that declaration was about to become an indisputable fact.The LP, which has long been out of print, makes its return to record stores Tuesday, and shows that the boxing legend had the art of bragging down to a science years before pro wrestlers and hip-hop artists took it to the next level. (Ali, however, was able to back up his claims with his actions.) The album, recorded while Ali still went by the name of Cassius Clay, was rush-released in the fall of 1963. The album was one of Clay's many stunts to fuel the fires of the media battle he was waging against heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in anticipation of their first bout. The disc contains the eight original tracks, dubbed "rounds," because of Clay's prediction that he would knock out Liston in the eighth round of the fight (Liston actually threw in the
towel after the sixth round). Also included is the original "Afterpiece," as well as three bonus tracks.The bonus tracks include the single version of "I Am The Greatest," a cover of the Ben E. King standard "Stand By Me," and "The Gang's All Here," the latter featuring the late great soul singer Sam Cooke. In other Ali news, the former Heavyweight Champion Of The World is about to have his life story told on the silver screen, with rapper/actor Will Smith being considered to play the lead role (see "Will Smith Preparing Next Album; Ali Biopic In Works"). The track listing for the "I Am The Greatest!" reissue:
- "Round 1: I Am The Greatest"
- "Round 2: I Am The Double Greatest"
- "Round 3: Do You Have To Ask?"
- "Round 4: 'I Have Written A Drama,' He Said Playfully"
- "Round 5: Will The Real Sonny Liston Please Fall Down"
- "Round 6: Funny You Should Ask"
- "Round 7: 2138"
- "Round 8:
- "Afterpiece: (See Round 1)"
- "I Am The Greatest (single)"
- "Stand By Me"
- "The Gang's All Here"