– The original title of the song was “In The Ghetto (The Vicious Circle)”, but RCA Records shortened it before handing it out to Elvis Presley. The end of the song describes the same picture as in the first verse, about a child born in the ghetto, whose father has just died, being born in the ghetto himself.
About The Song
– Although Elvis Presley knew this song would be a hit, he was reluctant to record a song with a socially conscious message. The song describes a child who struggles in his surroundings and turns to crime, which ultimately leads to his death.
– When Mac Davis, the writer of this track, entered the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2006, he explained at the ceremony, “It’s a simple matter of growing up with a little boy who’s father worked with my father. He lived in a part of town that was a dirt-street ghetto.”
As the snow fliesOn a cold and gray Chicago mornin’ A poor little baby child is born In the ghetto (In the ghetto)And his mama cries‘Cause if there’s one thing that she don’t need It is another hungry mouth to feed In the ghetto (In the ghetto)People, don’t you understandThe 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 wayWell, the world turnsAnd a hungry little boy with a runny nose Plays in the street as the cold wind blows In the ghetto (In the ghetto)And his hunger burnsSo he starts to roam the streets at night And he learns how to steal And he learns how to fight In the ghetto (In the ghetto)Then one night in desperationThe young man breaks away He buys a gun, steals a car Tries to run, but he don’t get far And his mama criesAs a crowd gathers ’round an angry young manFace down on the street with a gun in his hand In the ghetto (In the ghetto)And as her young man dies(In the ghetto) On a cold and gray Chicago mornin’ Another little baby child is born In the ghetto (In the ghetto)And his mama cries(In the ghetto) (In the ghetto) (Ah)