Joe Frazier the Singer: Boxing Great's Soul-Funk Knockouts
Joe Frazier, boxing champion, died Monday following a brief battle with liver cancer. The man who clashed with Muhammad Ali three thrilling times -- winning once -- had only just begun his fight with the disease a month ago, but his manager says the boxer's condition deteriorated quickly and he had to be admitted to hospice care last week. He was 67. Like many athletes that followed, "Smokin' Joe" enjoyed tinkering in the music business, and over the years released several soul-funk records under the Joe Frazier and the Knockouts banner.
His musical exploits typically featured a straightforward vocal from the boxer, and often his endearingly clunky delivery made it obvious what the singer did for a living. Songs also had titles or lyrics that touched on boxing -- including "Knock on Wood" and "The Bigger They Come."
In the pages of Billboard, Frazier got plenty of ink for his music, including several photo spots in the early 1970s to promote his singles, including a re-make of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" that references a chatty rival, presumably Ali, and a cover of Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood" (Photo at Top). Listen to Them Both: