Wednesday, 16 June 2021



Appearing on Starr’s 1973 album Ringo, “I’m the Greatest” was written by John Lennon. He’d originally written the song sarcastically about himself, based on boxing great Muhammad Ali’s iconic catchphrase.

The song produced a near-reunion of the Fab Four: John played piano and sang background vocals on it, George played guitar, and Ringo, of course, sang lead.
While “I’m the Greatest” wasn’t a chart-topper, it became known as Starr’s signature song and reportedly was composed by John Lennon after a night at home that the “Imagine” singer spent watching the tube.

“Lennon supposedly wrote ‘I’m the Greatest’ for himself in 1970 — after watching The Beatles cavort in A Hard Day’s Night on television — but decided against recording it,” Michael Seth Starr (no relation) in "Ringo: With a Little Help", wrote. “He’d forgotten about the song until Ringo asked him to contribute something to the Ringo LP. Lennon re-tailored some of the lyrics to fit Ringo, throwing in allusions to Ringo’s Sgt. Pepper alter-ego, Billy Shears, and to [Starr’s 1972 hit] Back Off Boogaloo.”

In You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup, author Peter Doggett wrote that the song began for Lennon as “sullen and bitter. Retooled for [Ringo], it emerged as a sardonic tribute to the Beatles. Even without McCartney, [the song] sounded like a lost gem from the Abbey Road sessions.”

John Lennon said he simply ‘could not’ sing ‘I’m the Greatest’ for this reason
As much as he’d written the song for himself, the Beatle who was slain in 1980 couldn’t bring himself to record it or sing it publicly.

“I couldn’t sing it,” John once said. “But it was perfect for Ringo. He could say, ‘I’m the greatest’ and people wouldn’t get upset. Whereas if I said `I’m the greatest,’ they’d all take it so seriously.”

“It’s very tongue in cheek,” said Ringo. ” Only [John] could have written it and only I could have sung it.”



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