American Skin (41 Shots)

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"American Skin (41 Shots)"
Single by Bruce Springsteen
from the album Live in New York City
ReleasedApril 24, 2001 (original version)
January 14, 2014 (new version)
RecordedMarch 2, 2001 (original version)
March 2013 (new version)
Length5:14 (original version)
7:22 (new version)
Songwriter(s)Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen singles chronology
"Sad Eyes"
"American Skin (41 Shots)"
"The Rising"
Music video
"American Skin (41 Shots)" on YouTube

"American Skin (41 Shots)" is a song written by Bruce Springsteen, inspired by the police shooting death of Amadou Diallo.[1] It premiered during the band's 1999–2000 reunion tour in concert in Atlanta on June 4, 2000, the final concert before the tour's final ten-show run at New York City's Madison Square Garden, where it was featured again. The performance led to some controversy in New York City, where the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association called for a boycott of Springsteen's shows.[2]

The song was first released as a live version on the Live in New York City album. The same version appeared a few years later on The Essential Bruce Springsteen. In April 2001, a studio version of the song was released as a very rare U.S.-only one-track radio promotional single on CD-R.[citation needed] A music video featuring the performance from the New York City show was released in 2001 and directed by Jonathan Demme.

It was played at several concerts in April 2012 on the Wrecking Ball Tour in response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin.[3][4][5] Springsteen performed the song on July 16, 2013, a few days following George Zimmerman's controversial not guilty verdict. It was again dedicated to Martin at the Limerick, Ireland, concert with Springsteen saying before the song "I want to send this one out as a letter back home. For justice for Trayvon Martin".[6]

Springsteen was recognized by the NAACP with the Humanitarian Award on December 3, 2000.[7]

Springsteen released a new studio version of the song, recorded in 2013, on his 2014 album, High Hopes.

Springsteen played "American Skin (41 Shots)" at selected shows during The River Tour in 2016.[8]

Living Colour performed a cover of "American Skin (41 Shots)" at the Auditorium Stravinski in Montreaux, Switzerland on July 20, 2001.

In 2016, Jackson Browne performed a cover of "American Skin (41 Shots)" at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.[9]

In 2016 Mary J. Blige sang a portion of the song to Hillary Clinton in an interview on Apple Music. The studio version, which features American rapper Kendrick Lamar, premiered online on October 23, 2016.

In June 2020, the American band Black Veil Brides released a cover of "American Skin (41 Shots)" in support of Black Lives Matter.[10]


  1. ^ "American Skin (41 Shots)". Songfacts. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  2. ^ Barnes, Julian E. (13 June 2000). "Springsteen Song About Diallo Prompts Anger From Police". New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  3. ^ Sean Daly, Times Pop Music Critic View all Articles. "Bruce Springsteen leads an anthemic celebration, honors 'the Big Man' at Tampa Bay Times Forum | Tampa Bay Times". Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  4. ^ Remnick, David. "Bruce and Trayvon: American Skin". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  5. ^ The Official Bruce Springsteen Website (2013-07-17). "Notes from the road: Limerick - The Official Bruce Springsteen Website". Retrieved 2014-02-28.
  6. ^ "Celebrity gossip, news, photos and more on MSN Entertainment". Retrieved 2014-02-28.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Schumacher-Rasmussen, Eric. "NAACP Honors Bruce Springsteen". MTV. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  8. ^ "American Skin (41 Shots) by Bruce Springsteen Song Statistics -". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  9. ^ nowiknowuryder (2016-10-02), Jackson Browne w/ Shawn Colvin, 41 Shots, Hardly Strictly, Golden Gate Park 2016, retrieved 2016-10-04 – via YouTube
  10. ^

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