The 1951 Rolling Review Show … # 133
Welcome to the 1951 Rolling Review Show which features pieces of music I have enjoyed at some time in my life. I hope you enjoy them as well. Let me know if you do.
The Universal Soldier – Donovan
Buffy Sainte Marie wrote this song in the basement of The Purple Onion coffee house in Toronto in 1963 after witnessing wounded soldiers returning from Vietnam. She has described the song as being “About individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all.” Though not a hit for her it was covered by British folk singer Donovan in 1965 on an EP titled The Universal Soldier, which was a success and bought attention to the song. In the US it was released as a single peaking at #53. The song became an anthem of the Vietnam Peace movement. Sainte-Marie naively sold the publishing rights to this song for a dollar to a man she met one night at the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village who wrote a contract on a napkin. She recalled to The Guardian July 31, 2009: “Ten years later I bought it back for 25,000 bucks – the good news is that I had 25,000 bucks.”
This is Donovan performing the song in 1966. He still sings it to this very day.