Ali looks serious, George thinks the boxer is fooling around, Ringo looks stunned, John appears in ecstasy, and Paul looks hurt. Whatever was happening that moment, it sure made an interesting photo of these popular people hanging out together!
On February 18, 1964, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr — then already making waves around the world as the popular rock band The Beatles — went to meet American boxer Cassius Clay (who would later convert to Islam that same year and rename himself Muhammad Ali) in Miami as part of their tour around the United States. Harry Benson was one of the photographers who were present to document the event, and the photo above was his shot at this rather amusing piece of history.
Here’s that same scene photographed from a slightly different angle:
On this event, George Harrison was quoted saying:
“Obviously we were having an effect, because all these people were clamouring to meet us – like Muhammad Ali, for instance. We were taken to meet him on that first trip. It was a big publicity thing. It was all part of being a Beatle, really; just getting lugged around and thrust into rooms full of press men taking pictures and asking questions. Muhammad Ali was quite cute, he had a fight coming up in a couple of days with Sonny Liston. There is a famous picture of him holding two of us under each arm.”
Want to find out more about the story behind this photo? We have just the right clip for you to watch: