Springsteen Releasing Studio Version Of Controversial 'American Skin'

Boss recorded that and other new material with E Street Band, guitarist tells newspaper.

"American Skin," the controversial song by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band about the 1999 police shooting of Amadou Diallo, will be released to radio in a studio version.

The band recorded the studio version of the tune because the live version, which made several year-end best-of lists, even though it was available only through Napster or on bootlegs, is too long for radio, guitarist Steve Van Zandt told the Newark Star-Ledger.

In addition to recording "American Skin," which drew fire from New York police organizations and praise from civil rights groups, the band also worked on other material. No formal decision to record a full studio album has been made, but Van Zandt said he hopes it will happen this year.

"American Skin" and "Land of Hope and Dreams," another previously unreleased song, will appear on Live in New York City, a double-disc set documenting the tour's last two shows at Madison Square Garden that will be released April 3. Three other new songs — "Code of Silence," "Further on up the Road" and "Another Thin Line" — made their debut on the tour, and Springsteen premiered the gospel-soul "My City of Ruins" at a benefit show in December in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Van Zandt told the newspaper he expects at least some of those songs to appear on a studio album.

"I would think so, because those songs are very good," he said. "Obviously, Bruce writes a lot, so you never know. Songs do come and go."

Springsteen's been known to scrap studio album plans before, so the release of another one anytime soon is anything but a sure thing. After recording the songs for 1982's Nebraska with the full band, Springsteen decided to release his solo four-track recording instead.

Springsteen and the E Street Band haven't recorded a full studio album together since 1984's Born in the U.S.A.