The Ghetto (Donny Hathaway song)

"The Ghetto" is a socially conscious, mostly instrumental jazz-flavored anthem, released as the first single off American soul singer Donny Hathaway's debut album, Everything Is Everything, released as a single in 1969 on Atlantic Records.

"The Ghetto"
Single by Donny Hathaway
from the album Everything Is Everything
A-side"The Ghetto, Pt. 1"
B-side"The Ghetto, Pt. 2"
Released1969
Recorded1969
GenreSoul jazz
Length6:50
LabelAtlantic
Songwriter(s)Donny Hathaway & Leroy Hutson
Producer(s)Donny Hathaway & Ric Powell
Donny Hathaway singles chronology
"I Wanna Thank You Baby"
(1969)
"The Ghetto"
(1969)
"You've Got a Friend"
(1971)

The song was co-written by Hathaway and Leroy Hutson. The song was a 6 minute and 50 second extravaganza which built upon a cinematic feel with its lengthy instrumental though it did feature vocal ad-libs from Hathaway, who played Wurlitzer electronic piano on the song, and constant chants of the song's title. The song has a distinctive Afro-Cuban sound with congas.

The song also featured additional background dialogue from what sounds like men talking on a street corner and a baby crying - that baby being Hathaway's own daughter Lalah before Hathaway ended the song with frenetic hand claps.

When originally released in 1969, the song became a modest charted single, peaking at number 87 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 23 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart.[1]

The song was also featured on Hathaway's revered Live album in which Hathaway and his musicians played a faster version of the song and later featured Hathaway getting the audience to sing the final chorus. The song was also used in the 1977 film Short Eyes.

Co-writer Leroy Hutson recorded a version of the song entitled "The Ghetto '74" for his album The Man! (1973). Since then, the song has been covered in hip-hop singles, most famously, Too Short's "The Ghetto", which featured Gerald Levert re-singing the chorus.

George Benson, accompanied by keyboardist Joe Sample, covered the song on his album Absolute Benson.


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