THIS DISCOGRAPHY and price guide to In The Ghetto is a listing of various pressings of the record and its accompanying picture sleeve from around the world. It is a follow-up to “The importance of In The Ghetto” and “On the importance of In The Ghetto part 2.″ This piece is secondary to those two: it is a gallery of images of releases of the record the picture sleeve for In The Ghetto from around the world.
In The Ghetto was Elvis’ first HUGE hit since Crying In The Chapel in 1965: it spent five weeks on Billboard’s Top 10 but only reaching #3. On Cash Box it spent six weeks in the Top 10, with one week at #1. While it also topped the charts in several other countries, in peaked out at #2 in the UK and the same in Canada.
Along with the Cash Both Top 100 in the US, In The Ghetto was #1 in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and West Germany.
Less than two months after its release, In The Ghetto received an RIAA Gold Record Award on June 25, 1969, for sales of 1,000,000 copies in the US. Believe it or not, it was his first award for a single since Hard Headed Woman in 1958, as neither he nor the Colonel nor RCA seemed to have much interest in submitting the data to the RIAA for certification in the intervening years.
Here is a selection of records and picture sleeves for In The Ghetto released in the US between 1969 and 1977. The American releases are first followed by a selection based on variances from the American releases.
The US picture sleeve for 47-9741 that reads COMINGS SOON! is fairly common in VG+ condition and worth $5-15. On the other hand, NM copies and much less common and should bring $20-30.
The picture sleeve that reads ASK FOR is more difficult to find in any condition with NM copies selling for $40-50. (A copy graded Mint sold for $129 on eBay in 2012 but this is certainly an aberration.)
The yellow label promotional pressing of 47-9741 is rather hard to find: a NM copy could sell for $40-60.
The US orange label pressing sold well over a million copies and is fairly easy to find in NM condition for $10-15. The three copies above appear to be from different plants: note the slight variation in the placement of the data on the right side.
This is a later printing of the sheet music by the Aberbach Group for Elvis’s version of In The Ghetto from the early ’70s. The original from 1969 had a posed photo of Elvis from but I could not find an adequate image of it on the Internet. The original has a suggested NM value of $20-25; the second issue above, $15-20.
The US Gold Standard reissue 447-0671 sold considerably less—perhaps a few thousand copies in the early ’70s—and is considerably less common than the orange original. But there is considerably less demand for it so it can be found in NM condition for $5-10.
The later black label pressing for this number are very common: Grommett only knows how many were pressed following Elvis’s death in 1977. Consequently, copies of 447-0671 have a nominal value of $2, although it is easy to find these at record swaps for less than a buck in LN (that’s Like New, to you . . .).
Note that copies of this record can be found pressed on opaque black vinyl and on a see-through styrene which allows light to pass through the record with a muddy brown color. This does not affect the value.
For the 25th Anniversary celebration of 1977, RC A issued 15 GOLDEN RECORDS – 30 GOLDEN HITS, a boxed set of fifteen 45s on black vinyl with new picture sleeves. The sleeves were so cheesily third-rate they could have been second-rate reproductions from an unauthorized source.
Instead, they were second-rate reproductions from the only authorized source. (RCA did not have the original artwork for the photos and reproduced the images from older picture sleeves.)
They were issued in the late ’70s to meet the demand for more! More!! MORE!!! new Presley Product in the wake of Elvis’s death. RCA used second-rate reproductions of picture sleeves that already existed but changed which titles went in which sleeve.
For example, the sleeve for In The Ghetto / Any Day Now was originally used for the sleeve for Devil In Disguise in 1963. As almost no one breaks up the boxed set, this record and sleeve are rarely seen for sale without the box. (Consequently, I could not find an image of the crappy looking black label reissue of this record for inclusion in this article.) Nonetheless, the record and sleeve together have a suggested NM value of $4-8. 2
For the 50th Anniversary celebration of 1985, RC A issued ELVIS’ GREATEST HITS – GOLDEN SINGLES VOLUME 1, a boxed set of six 45s on colored vinyl with attractive new picture sleeves. In The Ghetto was coupled with If I Can Dream as a near perfect airing. As almost no one breaks up the boxed set, this record and sleeve are rarely seen for sale without the box. Nonetheless, the record and sleeve together have a suggested NM value of $4-8.
A gallery of international collectables
Here is a selection of records and picture sleeves for In The Ghetto released in various countries in 1969. This is far from complete: it is simply a look a some of the more interesting variations available for collectors. I can claim little expertise in non-American pressings; consequently, there are no values listed with these records and sleeves.
This sleeve for Spain is the only one that I found that makes no mention of the upcoming FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS album, replacing the advertisement in the lower right corner with a meaningless filigree.
Italian picture sleeve has a different photo (from 1968 instead of ’69) and a more interesting color scheme and also lists Any Day Now in Italian as Bambolina, which seems to translate as “pretty girl.”
The Japanese sleeve is essentially identical to the American sleeve except that the Japanese characters are so much more graphically exciting that it alters the effect of the image.
In the UK, the switch had been made to manufacturing 45s with small holes for the newer turntables that Brits were beginning to buy in great numbers in the latter part of the ’60s. In The Ghetto was a big hit, reaching #2 and becoming the twelfth biggest selling single of 1969 in Great Britain. The two images above are of two different pressings from two different plants. Also, one carries the correct English catalog number (1831) while the other has the American number (47-9741). 1
It was also issued in England as the little-record-with-big-hole, although all pressings were manufactured with the LP spindle adapter (often called a knockout centre in England) a part of the record. Again, the need for two plants to press the record is evident by the variances in the placement of the data on the right side of the label.
The top image (green) appears to be the original sheet music from the Carlin Music Group; the bottom (orange) is a later printing from a subsidiary of Carlin whose name appears to be B-n-B Music Limited.
While most of the countries that manufactured records by or for RCA Victor had switched to the company’s new orange label by the end of 1968, India (big hole) and Australia (small hole) were two of only a few that still had a warehouse full of the older black label stock.
This sleeve from Singapore (which I have cropped rather heavily around the borders) has a different color scheme and the blurb box in the lower right merely reads FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS with no mention of the fact that that is the title of the upcoming LP album!
This sleeve is from Germany and is one of a series of similarly designed Oldies But Goodies sleeves from the mid 1970s. That is it for the gallery of collectable items. Should you be aware of any that I have not included (and I would like a scan of the yellow label promo for the US release of 47-9741 and of the first US sheet music).
This attractive sleeve was issued in Portugal for an EP that collected four singles sides: In The Ghetto and Any Day Now on side 1 with If I Can Dream and Charro on Side 2. While extended-play albums did last into the early ’70s in a few countries, such items are almost always rather rare records.
The cover of Rolling Stone
The July 12, 1969, issue of Rolling Stone (#37) gave Elvis the cover and feature story. Titled “Elvis Presley On Set: You Won’t Ask Elvis Anything Too Deep?” by William Otterburn-Hall, it addressed Presley on the set of his latest movie, Change Of Habit.
Like so many other artists that publisher/editor Jann Wenner did not find hip, Elvis was treated ironically and somewhat condescendingly:
“And where Elvis goes, the barriers go up as if some sinister germ warfare experiment were being carried on within. Like a suckling infant, he is swathed and coddled against the realities of the world outside, as if he were made of rare porcelain rather than hewn from good old-fashioned Tennessee stock.”
To be fair, almost any journalist who did not fawn on Elvis beforehand would have needed to be somewhat ironic in his or her writings; how else describe the way that Presley lived his life? But Mr. O-H was unnecessarily so: the movies’ co-stars—the very talented and very adult Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara McNair, and Jane Elliot—were dismissed as “three mini-skirted girls.” Oddly, the writer made a surprising discovery:
“Slow-talking Elvis may be. But he certainly isn’t the slow-witted hick from the backwoods his detractors make out. If he is, then he’s a better actor than they give him credit for. Get through to him, and you find a pleasant, honest, not-too-articulate hometown boy who has been protected for his own good from the hysterical periphery of his present world.”
As a collectable, this issue of Rolling Stone has a suggested NM value of $20-30. Note that finding any old issues of this magazine without the pages turning yellow or brown or sign of multiple readings in various hands is damn near difficult!
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is a still from Change of Habit in which Dr. Carpneter takes the time to entertain his charges by singing Rubberneckin’. The use of this recording was the first time that a song that had not been recorded for an Elvis movie soundtrack was used in a movie since the Tickle Me project in 1965.
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, I want to briefly address a complaint that I hear repeatedly: “Hey, what’s up? I can’t give Elvis stuff away at my store/collectors convention!” Presley Product’s value in the collectables market continues to rise also, if by “collectables” one is referring to established artifacts from Presley’s career while he was alive that have established value beyond that of sentimentality of kitsch.
And if one is referring to said collectables in top condition: while items such as original copies of the record and picture sleeve for In The Ghetto (47-9741) have declined in value in less than near mint condition, copies approaching mint condition are rising. Of course, a seller has to know how to grade accurately (read “conservatively”) to realize these prices in a sale.
1 Curiously, In The Ghetto actually received a bad review from Record Mirror, who dismissed it by stating that “it could have been sung by anyone”! (Like Tom Jones? Engelbert?)
2 (You’re The) Devil In Disguise (47-8188) was a big hit in 1963. In some ways, it was Presley’s last gasp as a rock & roll artist (despite its prefabricated and somewhat ersatz energy) before turning into a slave to several b-movie producers and the Colonel’s desire to have every movie a cheapie with its soundtrack an afterthought. DID remains a personal fave of myself and almost every Elvisaddict that I know and still gets play on oldies stations.