“In the Ghetto” is one of Elvis Presley’s most famous late-period songs. In her memoir, Priscilla Presley discussed the sessions in which Elvis recorded “In the Ghetto” and some of his other famous songs. In addition, she revealed how she reacted to the song.
Elvis Presley recorded songs at a studio associated with a famous artist
In her book Elvis and Me, Priscilla discussed what her husband did after his ’68 Comeback Special. “After the success of his special, Elvis devoted several weeks to a recording session, and again he was highly motivated,” she said.
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll worked in a studio associated with a famous artist.
“For the first time in fourteen years, he’d been persuaded to record in Memphis, at the American Sound Studios, a Black company where major artists, including Aretha Franklin, had recorded their most recent hits,” Priscilla recalled. “The studio musicians were young and Elvis had a great rapport with them.”
Elvis Presley recorded ‘In the Ghetto’ and these other famous songs during these sessions
Priscilla gave fans more insight into the music Elvis made at this time. “He’d be at the studio singing until the early-morning hours and then return the next evening full of energy and ready to start again,” she said. “His voice was in top form and his excitement was infectious.”
Priscilla was a big fan of the songs Elvis recorded during these sessions. “Each cut was more terrific than the one before,” she wrote. She revealed some of the songs he recorded during these times were “In the Ghetto,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Kentucky Rain.”
Priscilla felt these sessions reflected her husband’s artistry undiluted by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. “We’d listen to the songs over and over, Elvis yelling, ‘All right, listen to that sound,’ or ‘Goddamm, play it again,'” she recalled. “Colonel stayed away from this session. Elvis was the artist, and he was on a roll.”
The way the world reacted to ‘In the Ghetto’
Priscilla revealed it took some time for Elvis’ label, RCA Records, to release all the songs he recorded at the sessions. “In the Ghetto” reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the charts for 13 weeks. The song’s parent album, From Elvis in Memphis, reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 34 weeks.
“In the Ghetto” became a hit in the United Kingdom as well. The Official Charts Company reports the song peaked at No. 2 in the U.K. and lasted on the charts for 19 weeks. From Elvis in Memphis peaked at No. 1 in the U.K., staying on the charts for 14 weeks. Priscilla liked “In the Ghetto” and international audiences seemed to like it as well.