Song of the Day: Elvis Presley, “In The Ghetto”


After years of recording only soundtrack albums that went along with his movies, Elvis recorded the studio album From Elvis In Memphis in 1969. Working at a new studio (American Sound Studio in Memphis), a new producer (Chip Moman), and new backup musicians (“The Memphis Boys,” the house band at American Sound Studios), the new album was a combination of country, soul, rock, pop, gospel, and blues. The lone single from the album, “In The Ghetto,” was written by Mac Davis. Originally titled “The Vicious Circle,” it describes the brief and tragic life of boy born in the Chicago ghetto. The record reached #3 in the US, #2 in the UK, #2 in Canada, and #1 in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.

22 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Elvis Presley, “In The Ghetto”

    1. He changed a lot after he recorded “If I Can Dream” after Martin Luther King died. I think some of his best work was done in the late ’60’s and ’70’s.


  1. I find that this song grew on me as I got older. It has so much to say about the human condition. Nowadays, it shows me how little progress has been made since it was recorded.


        1. He said after recording “If I Can Dream” that he would never sing another song he didn’t believe in, and he stuck to it. He was a much deeper and thoughtful person than a generation of Elvis impersonators would have you believe.

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          1. He was a voracious reader across a variety of topics, and made notes in his books. Each of them had a list of words on the flyleaf that he had looked up and learned. Elvis would have loved to go to college, but he became famous at age 18 and that was pretty much out the window. He was quite the autodidact and, as you point out, deeper than a lot of people realized.


  2. Hi John – such an appropriate choice for the times of today … such desperate times … thank you for this reminder – take care – Hilary


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