Joe Frazier, R.I.P.


Yesterday the heavyweight legend Joe Frazier passed away at 67 from liver cancer, and the Times has a lengthy rundown of tributes to the man. But few of them focused on the boxer’s music career; while he didn’t have the best voice, he produced a smattering of recordings that melded funk, soul, and prodigious references to the fact that his main career involved wearing boxing gloves and avoiding others’ punches. (His band? The Knockouts, of course.) A few selections from his catalog below; while they do include thematically tweaked covers of “My Way” and Eddie Floyd’s “Knock On Wood,” be sure to check out “First Round Knock-Out,” the A-side to a single he cut for Motown that was written and produced by Van McCoy, the man behind “The Hustle,” and later covered by ex-Temptation David Ruffin. (Thanks to Jon Solomon for the tip.)

Joe Frazier, “My Way”

Joe Frazier, “Knock On Wood”

Joe Frazier, “If You Go, Stay Gone”

Joe Frazier, “The Bigger They Come”

Joe Frazier, “Knock Out Drop”

Joe Frazier, “First Round Knock-Out”


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