I'm The Greatest

Album: Ringo (1973)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • John Lennon wrote this song about himself, based on the famous Muhammad Ali line. But he realized that it wouldn't be seen as tongue-in-cheek as he intended it if he recorded it, so he changed some of the words ("Yes, my name is With A Little Help From My Friends") and gave it to Ringo. John played piano and sang backup on Ringo's recording. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ken - Louisville, KY

Comments: 6

  • Michael from Kissimmee, FlI've often wondered if this song was another jab at Paul via John. After all, Paul wrote "With a Little Help From My Friends" and Boogaloo was Ringo's pet name for Paul. Also, the line about the wife and kids; at the time John's only son, Julian, was living in England with his mother. I think this song may be about Paul.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyTo answer the question about Paul, this was during the time when he was prohibited from entering the U.S. because of a marijuana bust in England in 1972. Ringo and Richard Perry went to London for Paul's contribution to the "Ringo" album. John joked "I can't get out of the U.S. (because of his immigration battle), and Paul can't get in!" Paul was allowed to enter the U.S. the next year.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThe line-up on this song: John, George, Ringo, Billy Preston and Klaus Voorman, were to have been the line-up for the "mystery band" that was to record as "The Ladders" in 1970, until the idea was scrapped in favor of individual albums. George remembered this idea and 17 years later used it to form "The Traveling Wilburys", with all members performing under assumed names.
  • Kevin from Reading , PaThere is a version of Lennon singing it on the "John Lennon Anthology" release. Same arrangement (probably the same backing track) Giving it to Ringo turned out to be a good idea, as the song works much better as a sort of novelty record for Ringo as opposed to a statement of ego from Lennon ("If there is such thing as a genius, then yes, I am one. Or something like that.)
  • Chris from Charleston, ScThe closest thing to a Beatles Reunion. John on piano and vocals, Ringo on drums/singing, george on guitar....where the hell was Paul? Who cares.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThe story is that John was in a Los Angeles recording studio working on the song with Ringo (John played piano and sang backup), when producer Richard Perry got a phone call from George, asking if he could stop by (George was in LA at the time). Perry then asked John, and John said "Hell, yes! Tell him to get down here and help me finish this bridge!" George ended up playing guitar on the song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)

Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)Songwriter Interviews

"Come On Eileen" was a colossal '80s hit, but the band - far more appreciated in their native UK than stateside - released just three albums before their split. Now, Dexys is back.

Cheerleaders In Music Videos

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.

Gavin Rossdale On Lyric Inspirations and Bush's Album The Kingdom

Gavin Rossdale On Lyric Inspirations and Bush's Album The KingdomSongwriter Interviews

The Bush frontman on where he finds inspiration for lyrics, if his "machine head" is a guitar tuner, and the stories behind songs from the album The Kingdom.

Weezer

WeezerFact or Fiction

Did Rivers Cuomo grow up on a commune? Why did they name their albums after colors? See how well you know your Weezer in this Fact or Fiction.

Donny Osmond

Donny OsmondSongwriter Interviews

Donny Osmond talks about his biggest hits, his Vegas show, and the fan who taught him to take "Puppy Love" seriously.

Zac Hanson

Zac HansonSongwriter Interviews

Zac tells the story of Hanson's massive hit "MMMbop," and talks about how brotherly bonds effect their music.