THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
442-Elvis Presley-In the Ghetto.
1969-Number 2 single.
Best Bit-At 2.21. The vicious circle.
In 1968 Elvis Presley (see also best songs 954-664 and 194) was looking for new material for his 10th studio Album, and 35th overall, which was to be called ‘From Elvis in Memphis,’ His chart hits were beginning to dry up, and he had to get hold of the right material. At first Elvis and his entourage were reluctant to record ‘In the Ghetto’ as up until that point he had steered clear of anything that could be perceived as politically controversial, but such was his faith in it being a sure fire hit, he went ahead and released it.
‘In the Ghetto’ was written by Mac Davis, who was born Scott Mac Davis on January 21st, 1942, in Lubbock, Texas, United States, he died on September 29th, 2020, following heart surgery at the age of 78. Davis was a Country music singer, songwriter, and an actor who appeared in films and on television. He also provided Presley with the hit singles ‘Memories (1969, Billboard Number 35) ‘Don’t Cry Daddy’ (1969, Billboard Number 6 and UK Number 8) and the posthumous 2002 UK Number 1 ‘A Little Less Conversation.’Davis was also a successful recording artist releasing 19 studio Albums between 1970-1994, and 38 singles, of which 30 charted on the Billboard Country Music chart. His biggest solo success was with ‘Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me’ which made Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, while in the UK his only chart hit was with the 1980 novelty song ‘It’s Hard to Be Humble,’ which reached Number 27. Another notable song he recorded was ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life.’) (see also best songs 1024.)Mac Davis spoke about the song,’It was a big brouhaha of him recording ‘In the Ghetto,’ I think he had to fight to get that out as a single.RCA was afraid of it, and Col. Parker was afraid of it, but Elvis believed in it and he wanted to be taken seriously. He wanted to do a song that said something. It was one of my prideful moments, because I didn’t know if anyone would ever cut that song, it was controversial at the time.’
‘In the Ghetto’ tells the story of a child born in to poverty who can’t escape his surroundings. In order to survive he is forced to turn to a life of crime, which leads to his death, and as he is lying on the ground dying, another child is being born in the ghetto.
‘As her young man dies, on a cold and grey Chicago mornin’ another little baby child is born in the ghetto.’