John Lennon didn’t like Muhammad Ali because he made The Beatles ‘look really f–king stupid’ [Source: @PageSix]



The Beatles couldn’t stand Muhammad Ali, according to someone who witnessed their initial meeting.

The band met the fighter on their first trip to the US when both were on the precipice of global superstardom. But the lads — particularly John Lennon — were furious because Ali “made [them] look really f - - king stupid.”

The story comes to light as photographer Harry Benson celebrates the 60th anniversary of his famous photographs of the band’s tour. 

Benson took the Fab Four to meet Ali in Miami  on Feb. 8, 1964, while the latter was preparing to fight Sonny Liston and the hitmakers were preparing for their Ed Sullivan appearance.

Benson hoped that Ali’s bravado would knock them off their stride and provide some scintillating snaps — but he turned out to be too correct.

“Ali dwarfed them,” Benson told us. “Just the repartee of Ali: ‘You think you’re good-looking? You’re not that good-looking — you’re tiny, small, little men. Look at me!’ They didn’t like it — Lennon and Paul McCartney in particular.” 

The band met the fighter on their first trip to the US when both were on the rise to fame. Redferns
Ali insulted the band members’ appearance, which they didn’t react well to. Bettmann Archive

He added: “He didn’t particularly like their singing, and told them that . . . Afterward, John said to me, ‘He made us look really f - - king stupid, and it’s your fault, Benson.”

The band didn’t speak to him for three months.

Interestingly, when Ali died in 2016, McCartney posted a shot from the meeting and wrote, “I loved that man. He was great from the first day we met him in Miami . . . He was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humour.” 

Photographer Harry Benson celebrates the 60th anniversary of his famous photographs of the band’s tour.  Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Benson took the Fab Four to meet Ali in Miami on Feb. 8, 1964. Getty Images

Meanwhile, George Harrison said of the meeting, “Ali was quite cute.” (He said Ali was “clamoring” to meet the band, which is . . . not Benson’s recollection. “He couldn’t care less about them,” he said.)

Barbara Tober, David Patrick Columbia, and Grace and Chris Meigher hosted a screening of the 2016 documentary “Harry Benson: Shoot First” at the Museum of Arts and Design and a dinner at its restaurant, Robert, to mark the anniversary.  



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