Old world wisdom, new world insight – poems, poetry, philosophy, dreams, commentary, ideas

Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #43

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by Lawrence J. J, Leonard

We know people who are born into a family of artists or writers. Others are born into military and service families with generations of protectors of the everyday person.  What seems to be more common than not is being in a family that struggles to make ends meet. We know people who “have” and people who “have not.”

It seems generational poverty is a difficult place to escape. Even Elvis Aaron Presley, one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th Century, had very humble beginnings in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Our “King of Rock and Roll” was born to a father who was not a consistent provider as the family depended on neighbors for assistance.

For Elvis song writing was shaped early on in his lean years. Elvis was inspired by Mississispi Slim (Carvel Lee Ausborn) and his musical stylings. Slim was a hillbilly/ country music singer who hosted a radio show in Tupelo. Elvis got to know Slim who gave Elvis his first big break.

Stardom often fades. From 1956 through 1965, Elvis music career seemed to peak. But in 1968 Elvis was introduced to this song by Mac Davis which called attention to a young man with no hope, no money, and no way to un-break his mother’s heart.

Number 43
Elvis released his 45-RPM record of “In The Ghetto” and it skyrocketed to the #1 position on the Cashbox charts in 1969. Elvis paints a very sad portrait of people in despair. Not having is a struggle for almost every family with only one income.

We do not have to act out in desperation as described in the song. There are people who can support us today if we are in need. Single moms, single dads, and children in foster care all have their hopes and desires and setbacks. We acknowledge these in the song’s lyrics and face them while listening to Elvis’ sorrowful delivery.

Lyrics: written by Mac Davis

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
The 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

And as her young man dies.
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin’
Another little baby child is born
In the ghetto

And his mama cries

If you are feeling depressed, do something about it. Please find help before making any rash decisions.  Click this resource, the National Institute of Mental Health.

Copyright © 1960-2017 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.

Author: SpindoctorUSA

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