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Elvis, Mac Davis ‘In the Ghetto’
Paul Kyriazi - Feature Film Director Paul Kyriazi - Feature Film Director
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Los Angeles, CA
Monday, January 23, 2023


When Mac Davis was six, he had a best friend that lived in the ghetto on a dirt street. He couldn’t understand why his friend had to live there. As an adult, he thought about how young men from those parts of towns are killed and another takes his place. He wrote a song called The Vicious Cycle, but since cycle had no rhyming words, he changed it to In the Ghetto.

According to Elvis’ girlfriend Linda Thompson: “Mac proposed the song to Sammy Davis Jr. But Sammy said, ‘I can’t do this song because I never lived like that. But I’ll tell you who grew up poor, Elvis Presley’. “Anyone that knows the song,” Linda continued, “is reminded of the powerful love Elvis had for his mother when he repeats the line ‘and his mama cried’.”

Davis said, “Col. Tom Parker and RCA didn’t want Elvis to record that song because it was against the image they had for him. But Elvis fought to record it. I ended the song with the words ‘in the ghetto’, but Elvis adlibbed an additional ‘and his mama cried’ at the end, and it was brilliant.”

At the recording studio, Col. Tom approached Davis and asked, “Do you want to be a star?”

Davis replied, “Sure.”

Col. Tom stretched out his hands and said, “Then kneel down.”

Davis looked around the studio not knowing what to do. Elvis’ entourage encouraged him to do it, so Davis kneeled.

Col. Tom put his hands on Davis’ head and said, “This boy will be a star.”

Davis said, “I first heard the recording when I was driving. I remember thinking, I wish Elvis hadn’t pronounced ‘get-toe’. But that lasted about five seconds. Then I knew it would be a huge hit.

“I remember the first royalty check that came in. It had Elvis’ picture on it. I had never made more than $12,000 a year in my life. I walked into my bank with this big check with a lot of zeroes on it. I told the teller, ‘I want to deposit this and get a cashier’s check for $10,000 because I’ve got a Mercedes picked out’.”

Oh yeah. Davis became a star, both in music and movies. We can only wonder if it was because of Col. Tom’s divine touch.

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