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How Did Muhammad Ali Earn Two Grammy Nominations?

Updated May 17, 2024
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The legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was known for his witty comments, but he really upped his game when he was nominated for Grammy Awards in 1964 and 1976. In 1963, six months before he became world champ by defeating Sonny Liston, Ali released a spoken word comedy album entitled (of course) I Am the Greatest. The album was so successful, particularly after his victory, that Ali released a single with the same title, which was later nominated for a Best Comedy Performance Grammy, and is regarded as a precursor to modern hip-hop.

Twelve years later, Ali collaborated with Frank Sinatra, Howard Cosell, and Ossie Davis on the album Ali and His Gang Vs. Mr. Tooth Decay, which was targeted at keeping kids from consuming too much sugar. The Grammy Awards came calling again, and the album was nominated for Best Recording for Children. Ali probably expected to win, since he was used to victory in the ring, but he had to settle with nominations both times.

Grammy goodies:

  • Every Grammy Award is made from a trademarked zinc alloy known as "Grammium," which is used nowhere else.

  • Three U.S. presidents – Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter – won Spoken Word awards at the Grammys.

  • Before settling on the name "Grammy," the awards were almost called the "Eddies," after phonograph pioneer Thomas Edison.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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