Springsteen's Thwarted Hillary Assist?

Springsteen's Thwarted Hillary Assist?

Springsteen's Thwarted Hillary Assist?

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
June 8 2000 4:09 PM

Springsteen's Thwarted Hillary Assist?

In the June 8 New York Post, Kenneth Lovett reports that Bruce Springsteen will sing a new protest song about Amadou Diallo, the West African immigrant whom policemen shot to death last year in the Bronx when they mistook his wallet for a weapon, when he plays New York's Madison Square Garden next week. (For some reason, Lovett's story isn't posted on the Post's Web site. Click here to see APBnews.com's very thorough "multimedia report" on Diallo and the murder trial of the cops who killed him, which ended in acquittal.)

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The new Springsteen song is called "American Skin," and it starts out with the Boss belting out, nine times, the phrase, "41 shots," which refers to the number of bullets the cops pumped into Diallo. Springsteen introduced "American Skin" a few days ago on the Atlanta leg of his E Street Band tour. (Click here to read an enthusiastic description a Springsteen fan posted on an unofficial Springsteen site called Greasy Lake.) Here are some of the lyrics:

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

Ain't no secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in your American skin.

The song appears to represent a departure for Springsteen, who hasn't previously made explicit points about specific news events--even events as horrific as the Diallo killing--even in his most left-wing political songs. Why now? Chatterbox guesses that Springsteen wanted to help Hillary Clinton's Senate race. Probably Springsteen wrote the song before New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose "zero-tolerance" policy on crime many hold responsible for Diallo's death, pulled out of the race. But the song won't do Hillary much good against her new Republican opponent, Rick Lazio. How about "Hillarita, Come Out Tonight"?