Monday, October 4, 2010

Elvis Presley: In the Ghetto




Written: Mac Davis
Recorded at: American International Studios in Memphis, Tennessee
Released (as a single): April 1969


The song is self-explanatory, about the consequences of poverty in inner-city Chicago during the 1960s, a self-imprisoned ghetto where little hope reigns. Yet, it can be any major city, in America, in Europe or Asia,  and its message of social conscience is as relevant today as it was forty years ago. Individual dignity, humanity, freedom and equality are hard to gain, especially for some who were born on the wrong side of the divide. The more things change, the more they remain the same. 

Elvis: "I've never gotten over what they call stage fright. I go through it every show. I'm pretty concerned, I'm pretty much thinking about the show. I never get completely comfortable with it, and I don't let the people around me get comfortable with it, in that I remind them that it's a new crowd out there, it's a new audience, and they haven't seen us before. So it's got to be like the first time we go on."

In the Ghetto
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
A 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 on 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

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