Superior Singing Method - Online Singing Course

Elvis SongPedia: In The Ghetto

In The Ghetto

Back to
"I" Menu

Basic Stats

(Just the facts, ma'am!)

Written by: Mac Davis

Recorded: January 20, 1969, American Studios, Memphis TN
Released master is take 23.

Single:w/ "Any Day Now", 47-9741, April 14, 1969
Also re-released as Gold Standard Series, 447-0671, December 1970

RIAA Certified: Platinum (as of 03/27/1992)

Highest U.S. Charts Positions:
#3 on Billboard Hot 100
#1 on Cash Box Top 100
#1 on iTunes, duet version w/ Lisa Marie Presley, 2007

1st LP release: From Elvis In Memphis - June 1969
Click to download or buy
"In the Ghetto"
now from Amazon!

or download from iTunes:

For other versions, see
Lyrics and Downloads section below.

My Spin

(Just my opinion. Give us yours!)

Elvis may not have sung overtly political songs, but he had already shown with "If I Can Dream" that he could deliver topical and inspirational music when given the opportunity. But in the spring of 1969, he took it a little further with "In The Ghetto". Probably the finest song Mac Davis ever wrote, this story of inner city hopelessness comes full circle at the end, and Elvis brings all of his emotional reverence and authority to the vocals. Even after repeated listening, it still brings chills to hear that line repeated at the end.

Other Spins

(What did the critics and fans say?)

When we come to "In The Ghetto", we encounter a classic Presley recording. It is essentially a protest song and nobody listening to this performance can remain unmoved. Every word is crystal clear, and Presley's manly voice has both authority and tenderness. The subject of the song is the plight of those who live in ghettoes, and the bare, insistent, unchanging harmonies mirror this, as the singer is trapped by their pull.

Robert Matthew-Walker, Elvis Presley: A Study in Music, 1979

The most emotionally moving release by Elvis of the Sixties (or perhaps, his career); a searing, touching ballad of black urban despair which gave Elvis his first smash single in a long time and put Mac Davis on the map. Every word is phrased with uncanny feeling. The recording, with the Memphis Strings, is a bit overproduced, but no matter.

The Complete Elvis, edited by Martin Torgoff, 1982

...A hauntingly lovely, dirge-like ballad rooted in gospel, "In the Ghetto" is by no means a protest song, which is no doubt why it works... Read more at AllMusic: In The Ghetto

Check out other Elvis fans' opinions on the Elvis News page for In The Ghetto

Check out other opinions at Rate Your Music

"In The Ghetto" Links

"In The Ghetto" Lyrics and Downloads

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin'
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto
And his mama cries
'Cause if there's one thing that she don't need
It's another hungry mouth to feed
In the ghetto

People, don't you understand
The child needs a helping hand
Or he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me
Are we too blind to see
Do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way

Well the world turns
And a hungry little boy with a runny nose
Plays in the street as the cold wind blows
In the ghetto

And his hunger burns
So he starts to roam the streets at night
And he learns how to steal
And he learns how to fight
In the ghetto

Then one night in desperation
The young man breaks away
He buys a gun, steals a car
Tries to run, but he don't get far
And his mama cries

As a crowd gathers 'round an angry young man
Face down in the street with a gun in his hand
In the ghetto

As her young man dies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin'
Another little baby child is born
In the ghetto
...And his mama cries

Download the Karaoke Version!

In The Ghetto karaoke - Elvis PresleyIn The Ghetto
Elvis Presley

Download or just listen to different versions from Amazon!

What's YOUR Spin on "In The Ghetto"?
Yea or Nay?

Yea! A Great Message Song from Elvis!

Nay! Tries to Run, But He Don't Get Far!

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Some Other Elvis Song Lists

Elvis Website Directories

  • ElvisStartPage - As the name implies, this is the place to start when looking for Elvis sites!
  • Elvis Presley - Another directory of Elvis websites. The place to go to find Elvis on the web!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Vote for my site at!

Study Up Some More!

Elvis song reference books on Amazon!

Ernst Jorgensen's complete chronicle of Elvis' recording sessions, with loads of detailed information about each session and each song.
This is the definitive encyclopedia on Elvis' life details, as well as all the background and trivia you need for all the songs, movies, and TV appearances. Authors are Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius.
The subtitle of Ace Collins' book says it all: "The stories behind Elvis' #1 hits"!
"Elvis The #1 Hits: The Secret History of the Classics". Another self-explanatory book title. :)