In the Ghetto: Wikis


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"In the Ghetto"
Single by Elvis Presley
B-side "Any Day Now" (Burt Bacharach, Bob Hilliard)
Released April 1969
Genre Rock/
Length 2:45
Writer(s) Mac Davis
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"His Hand in Mine"
"In the Ghetto"
"Clean Up Your Own Backyard"

"In the Ghetto" is a song written by Mac Davis and was originally titled "The Vicious Circle". The song was made popular by rock and roll singer Elvis Presley. It was released in 1969 as a 45 rpm single with "Any Day Now" as the flip side. It is a narrative story of a young boy who is born in the ghetto, grows up, steals and fights, and eventually is shot and killed as another child is born, with the strong implication that his fate will be the same.

The song was Presley's first Top 10 hit in the US in four years, peaking at number 3, and his first UK Top 10 hit in three years.[1]


Original record

"In the Ghetto" was recorded during Presley's session in the American Sound Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. It was Presley's first creative recording session since the '68 Comeback, and the songs recorded here probably owed some of their financial success to that. Other hits recorded at this session were "Suspicious Minds", "Kentucky Rain", and "Don't Cry Daddy". There were initial fears that the song would damage Presley's reputation for being politically unbiased,[citation needed] but he loved the song and recorded it anyway.

Live versions

Due to its recent success Presley used it in his set list for his return to live performances in Vegas 1969 usually introducing it as "A song that did well for me recently Ladies and Gentlemen...".

During his next engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas in February 1970 he joined the end of "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" with the intro to "In the Ghetto" and several recorded examples of this are available from this season.

During the dinner show on 13 August 1970 he intertwined the song with "Don't Cry Daddy".

Lisa Marie Presley duet version

The song was recorded in 2007 by Lisa Marie Presley as a duet to raise money for the Presley foundation. The song was released on iTunes, it reached #1 on iTunes in the US[citation needed]. The song's video stirred up controversy for its stark depiction of guns in the crib with toddlers.

Cover versions

After Elvis Presley, the song has been performed by many other artists. Among them were, most notably, Candi Staton, Dolly Parton, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Cranberries, Merle Haggard, Leatherface, Three Six Mafia, Skrewdriver, DNX vs. The Voice, Ghetto people feat. L-Viz, Frank Flynn and Natalie Merchant. The KLF used a sample of the Elvis recording in their ambient DJ album Chill Out. Mac Davis recorded a version of the song for a greatest hits album released in 1979.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds version

"In the Ghetto"
Single by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
from the album From Her to Eternity
Released June 18, 1984
Format 7"
Recorded March 1984
Label Mute Records
Producer Flood
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds singles chronology
"In the Ghetto"

"In the Ghetto" is the debut single by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It was recorded at the Trident Studios in London and released as a 7" on June 18, 1984 with the B-side "The Moon Is in the Gutter".[2] It reached 84 on the UK Singles Chart.[3]


Paul Shanklin recorded a parody called "In a Yugo" for Rush Limbaugh, in which an environmentally conscious family buys a Yugo to save gas, only to get killed by a truck after swerving to miss a duck.[1] Later, Shanklin updated his parody for a new generation too young to remember the Yugo, replacing it with its perceived equivalent, "In A Hybrid".

Ian Stuart of Skrewdriver recorded a parody called "In The Ghetto" about "White Ghettos" and a mother who "cried White Pride".

El Vez recorded a version titled "En el Barrio" that mixed humor with details about Chicano struggles.

In popular culture

In Spain there is a well-known cover by El principe gitano in which he sang in phonetic English mixed with Romani words.

In the TV cartoon series South Park, the character Eric Cartman sings an excerpt in the episode "Chickenpox" while walking through Kenny's neighborhood on "the wrong side of the tracks."


External links

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