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'American Skin'

Controversy erupted this week over a new Bruce Springsteen song about the 1999 police killing in New York of Amadou Diallo, a black West African immigrant. Four New York City officers, who were cleared of murder charges at trial, shot the unarmed Diallo 41 times believing they saw him reach for a weapon. The elegy, not recorded yet, was performed for the first time in Atlanta, June 4. New York police organizations called for a boycott of the rocker's 10-night Madison Square Garden stand. Springsteen issued no comment, except to perform the song at his New York opening, Monday. These are the lyrics:

41 shots

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41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots and we'll take that ride

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Across this bloody river to the other side

41 shots they cut through the night

You're kneeling over his body in the vestibule

Praying for his life

Is it a gun?

Is it a knife?

Is it a wallet?

This is your life

It ain't no secret

It ain't no secret

No secret my friend

You can get killed just for living in your American skin

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

Laina gets her son ready for school

She says now on these streets Charles

You got to understand the rules

Promise me if an officer stops you that you'll always

be polite

Never ever run away,

Promise me you'll keep your hands in sight

Is it a gun?

Is it a knife?

Is it a wallet?

This is your life

It ain't no secret

It ain't no secret

No secret my friend

You can get killed just for living in your American skin

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

Is it a gun?

Is it a knife?

Is it in your heart?

Is it in your eyes?

It ain't no secret

It ain't no secret

41 shots and we'll take that ride

Across this bloody river to the other side

41 shots I got my boots caked with this mud

We're baptized in these waters and in each other's blood

Is it a gun?

Is it a knife?

Is it a wallet?

This is your life

It ain't no secret

It ain't no secret

It ain't no secret

No secret my friend

You can get killed just for living in

You can get killed just for living in

You can get killed just for living in your American skin

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

41 shots

(c)Copyright Bruce Springsteen 2000 with permission

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society


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