"American Skin (41 Shots)" as written by and Bruce Springsteen....
(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)

41 shots, and we'll take that ride
'Cross the bloody river to the other side
41 shots, 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)
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)

41 shots, Lena gets her son ready for school
She says, "On these streets, Charles
You've got to understand the rules
If an officer stops you, promise me you'll always be polite
And that you'll never ever run away
Promise Mama you'll keep your hands in sight"

Is it a gun (is it a gun), is it a knife (is it a knife)
Is it a wallet (is it a wallet), this is your life (this is your life)
It ain't no secret (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 your American skin

(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)

Is it a gun (is it a gun), is it a knife (is it a knife)
Is it in your heart (is it in your heart), is it in your eyes (is it in your eyes)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)

41 shots, and we'll take that ride
'Cross this bloody river to the other side
41 shots, I got my boots caked with this mud
We're baptized in these waters (baptized in these waters)
And in each other's blood (and in each other's blood)

Is it a gun (is it a gun), is it a knife (is it a knife)
Is it a wallet (is it a wallet), this is your life (this is your life)
It ain't no secret (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

41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)

41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"American Skin (41 Shots)" as written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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American Skin (41 Shots) song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis song is a tribute to Amadou Diallo, who reached for his wallet when stopped by the police (possibly to show identification) and they shot him...41 times. They were acquitted, saying they thought the wallet was a gun. It was considered by many to be a case of racial profiling.

    More information here.
    cprompton June 16, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentworst part about this? the police officers served no jail time for this.
    PURPLEluvsMCRon September 16, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment[Link was filtered. The address I meant to link to is greasylake.org/talktome/…]
    cprompton June 16, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI disagree with it being irritating.

    Top song, the repetition just adds to the atmosphere.
    wwbon May 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPdm's interpretation is ridiculous to a point that makes me feel a little bad for him. This song has nothing to do with America exporting a violent pop culture. In fact, that isn't even remotely implied by the lyrics.

    Beyond the sorely lacking ability to understand art, PDM's idea that America somehow forces this violent culture on the rest of the world and needed to be put in check by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, of all people, borders on insane.
    z4ckm0rrison July 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcprompt apears to have some intelligence. kudos
    Lucky Loseron April 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI cant beleive no-1 has commented on this.

    It's about a black guy who got shot 41 times by 6 white policement in the Bronx when he was reaching for a wallet.

    All policement were cleared of murder.

    LA riots anyone?
    baxon February 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI cant beleive no-1 has commented on this.

    It's about a black guy who got shot 41 times by 6 white policement in the Bronx when he was reaching for a wallet.

    All policement were cleared of murder.

    LA riots anyone?
    baxon February 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentrwor.org/a/v22/1060-69/1060/… has a lot about this... Amadou Diallo was a Guinean immigrant who got killed by 4 police officers- he reached for his wallet to show ID i guess, they thought he was reaching for a gun and shot him 41 times. can you even imagine? thats like 10 times each...
    bellaboo137on March 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDiallo was shot by police officers while reaching for his wallet. They thought he had a gun. While firing many of the officers' shots hit the wall and ricoched back at the officers so they believed they were being fired upon. Its worth noting that many of the shots entered Diallo's body from the bottom (ie his feet) meaning he was laying on the ground and was still being fired upon. also worth noting that the number of rounds fired was more than the number in the officers' magazines. (they reloaded)
    massmic8on June 29, 2006   Link

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