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I'm_The_Greatest

I'm The Greatest

"I'm the Greatest" is a song written by English musician John Lennon that was released as the opening track of the 1973 album Ringo by Ringo Starr. With Starr, Lennon and George Harrison appearing on the track, it marks the only time that three former Beatles recorded together between the band's break-up in 1970 and Lennon's death in 1980. Lennon wrote the song in December 1970 as a wry comment on his rise to fame, and later tailored the lyrics for Starr to sing. Named after one of Muhammad Ali's catchphrases, the song partly evokes the stage-show concept of the Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Recording for "I'm the Greatest" took place in Los Angeles in March 1973, during a period when tensions among the former Beatles had eased. News of Starr, Lennon and Harrison working together led to heightened speculation in the press that the band might re-form. The presence on the recording of bassist Klaus Voormann, as a supposed stand-in for Paul McCartney, created a line-up that the press had dubbed the Ladders since 1971. The song was produced by Richard Perry and also includes musical contributions from Billy Preston, a keyboard player whose close links to the Beatles led to him being recognised as a Fifth Beatle.

Some commentators consider "I'm the Greatest" to be one of Starr's signature tunes. In his contemporaneous review for Rolling Stone, Ben Gerson praised it as a song on which "a stunning alchemy occurs"; author Peter Doggett likens the track to a "lost gem" from the Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road. "I'm the Greatest" was later included on Starr's compilations Blast from Your Past (1975) and Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr (2007). Starr has often performed it in concert with his All-Starr Band, whose second album, Live from Montreux (1993), opens with the song. A version from the 1973 recording session with Lennon on lead vocals appeared on the 1998 box set John Lennon Anthology.

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