The Ghetto (Donny Hathaway song)

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"The Ghetto"
Single by Donny Hathaway
from the album Everything Is Everything
A-side The Ghetto, Pt. 1
B-side The Ghetto, Pt. 2
Released 1970
Recorded 1969
Genre Soul jazz
Length 6:50
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Donny Hathaway & Leroy Hutson
Producer(s) Donny Hathaway & Ric Powell
Donny Hathaway singles chronology
"I Wanna Thank You Baby"
"The Ghetto"
"You've Got a Friend" (w/Roberta Flack)

"The Ghetto" is a socially conscious, mostly instrumental Jazz/Latin 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 1970 on Atlantic Records.

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 electric piano on the song, and constant chants of the song, which had a distinguished Afro-Cuban sound with congas.

The song also featured additional backgrounds, dialogue from what sound like men talking on a street corner and a baby crying before Hathaway ended the song with frenetic hand claps.

When originally released in 1970, 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 into it singing 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 pianist Joe Sample, covered the song in his album Absolute Benson.


External links[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 247.