As you’ve probably heard by now, boxing legend Muhammad Ali passed away late last night (6.3.2016) at the age of 74. He was just three months older than my dad. Like many others around the world, I’ve been combing through the vast amount of amazing and memorable quotes from “The Greatest” during his lifetime, and here are three that are favorites of mine:
“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”
“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
“People don’t realize what they had till it’s gone. Like President Kennedy, there was no one like him, the Beatles, and my man Elvis Presley. I was the Elvis of boxing.”
I saw another quote about Muhammed Ali that inspired today’s “song of the day” – from the artist formerly known as Terence Trent D’Arby.
Terence Trent D’Arby was born Terence Trent Howard in Manhattan, NYC, and just 4 months after his 25th birthday, he released his first album, INTRODUCING THE HARDLINE ACCORDING TO TERENCE TRENT D’ARBY. Like Muhammad Ali, Terence was cocky, confident and brilliant, and he even compared his confidence to Ali’s in an interview with MELODY MAKER magazine:
“Tell people long enough and loud enough you’re the greatest and eventually they’ll believe you. And once they believe you’re the greatest, you become the greatest.” Two weeks after the album was released, Terence was the greatest – in the U.K., where INTRODUCING THE HARDLINE… spent its first week at No. 1 on the U.K. album chart (it would return to No. 1 there for two months between January and March 1988).
It took awhile longer for Terence to become the greatest in his U.S. homeland. The album wasn’t released here until October 1987, and his first single, “If You Let Me Stay,” at Top 10 hit in the U.K., stalled at No. 68 here. The second single, however, fared much, much better.
“Wishing Well” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in mid-January 1988, the lowest new entry at No. 79 (the highest was George Michael’s “Father Figure” at No. 49). “Wishing Well” reached the Top 40 (at No. 40) the same week “Father Figure” vaulted to No. 1. But, “Wishing Well” took its time (17 weeks), and, for one week in early May 1988, Terence Trent D’Arby and “Wishing Well” were both the greatest on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 (while “Father Figure” was spending its last week on the entire chart). It spent a week shy of a half-year on the Hot 100, and finished the year here in the U.S. at No. 11.
Around the globe, Terence Trent D’Arby didn’t have to wish for success for “Wishing Well” – the song reached No. 1 in Holland, No. 2 in Canada, No. 4 in the U.K. and New Zealand, No. 5 in Switzerland, No. 9 in Australia, and No. 10 in Austria. It also reached No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s R&B chart and No. 7 on the Dance chart.
Terence would return to the Hot 100 with two more songs from INTRODUCING THE HARDLINE… – the beautiful “Sign Your Name” (one of the sexiest songs of the 80s; No. 4) and “Dance Little Sister” (No. 30), and from his third album, 1993’s SYMPHONY OR DAMN, the gorgeous (and highly underrated) “Delicate,” which stopped at No. 74. “Delicate” featured vocals from London Soul singer Des’Ree, who had a huge of her own in 1994 with “You Gotta Be.”
After four albums under the name of Terence Trent D’Arby (the last, 1995’s VIBRATOR), he legally changed his name in 2001 to Sananda Maitreya, which, according to a 2003 interview, he said related to a series of dreams he had back in 1995. In 2002, Sananda moved to Milan, Italy, and he has released albums primarily through his website, including 2015’s 2-CD, 27-track THE RISE OF THE ZUGEBRIAN TIME LORDS.
I still love the music of Terence Trent D’Arby, especially his singles, and though I remember him more as Terence than Sananda, I admire him for changing his name and making the most of his life, and continuing to do what he loves to do, much like my admiration of Cassius Clay changing his name to Muhammed Ali.
You know, I’ve never been a fan of boxing (though I have enjoyed boxing movies, oddly enough). I am just old enough to remember Muhammad Ali the fighter and I loved watching him in and out of the ring. He was brilliant, cocky, confident, funny, didn’t take any shit and stood up for what he believed in.
From one of those quotes I mentioned before, “People don’t realize what they had till it’s gone.” It’s so true. And now, “The Greatest” is gone. And there was definitely no one like him. R.I.P. Muhammed Ali, and many, many thanks…