Universal Soldier

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Posted: 2007 05-22


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Universal soldier live

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Universal Soldier on Wikipedia
"Universal Soldier"
Song by Buffy Sainte-Marie from the album It's My Way!
GenreFolk rock
Writer(s)Buffy Sainte-Marie
It's My Way! track listing
"Universal Soldier"
EP-track by Donovan from the album The Universal Soldier
Released15 August 1965
GenreFolk rock
LabelPye NEP 24219
Writer(s)Buffy Sainte-Marie
Producer(s)Terry Kennedy, Peter Eden, Geoff Stephens
The Universal Soldier track listing
Side one
  1. "Universal Soldier"
  2. "The Ballad of a Crystal Man"
Side two
  1. "Do You Hear Me Now?" (1:51, Bert Jansch)
  2. "The War Drags On" (Mick Softley)

"Universal Soldier" is a song written and recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. The song was originally released on Sainte-Marie's debut album It's My Way! in 1964. "Universal Soldier" was not a popular hit at the time of its release, but it did garner attention within the contemporary folk music community. It became a hit a year later when Donovan covered it. Sainte-Marie said of the song: "I wrote 'Universal Soldier' in the basement of The Purple Onion coffee house in Toronto in the early sixties. It's about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all."


  • 1 Donovan cover
  • 2 Other covers
  • 3 Smithsonian
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Donovan cover

By 1965 the song had caught the attention of budding folk singer Donovan, who recorded it using a similar arrangement to Buffy Sainte-Marie's original recording.[1] Donovan's recording was released on an EP titled The Universal Soldier in the United Kingdom (15 August 1965, Pye NEP 24219). The EP continued Donovan's run of high charting releases in the UK by reaching #5 on the charts. Tracks on the EP: "Universal Soldier"; "The Ballad of a Crystal Man" b/w "Do You Hear Me Now" (Bert Jansch); "The War Drags On" (Mick Softley)

The lack of interest in the EP format within the United States led Hickory Records to release the song as a single in September 1965 (Hickory 45-1338). Donovan's cover of "Universal Soldier" was backed with another track from the British EP, Bert Jansch's "Do You Hear Me Now?"

Donovan's US single release of "Universal Soldier" (released 9/1965, b/w "Do You Hear Me Now?", Hickory 45-1338) also became a hit, charting higher than his previous single "Colours" and ultimately reaching #53 on the Billboard charts. This success led Hickory Records to include the song on the United States release of Donovan's second album, Fairytale, replacing a cover of Bert Jansch's "Oh Deed I Do".

In Donovan's version, Dachau becomes Liebau (Lubawka, Poland), a training center for Hitler Youth.

Other covers

  • The Highwaymen, Glen Campbell (#45 US, #16 AUS, #4 SWE)
  • Chumbawamba
  • Heikki Harma, 1965, lyrics in Finnish, called "Palkkasoturi" ("The Mercenary").
  • Boudewijn de Groot, lyrics in Dutch, called "De eeuwige soldaat".
  • Juliane Werding, lyrics in German, called "Der Ewige Soldat"
  • Ámmun Johnskareng a Northern Sami, lyrics in Sami, called "Máilmmálaš soalddát".
  • Bettina Wegner, lyrics in German, called "Soldaten"
  • Toni Vescoli, lyrics in Swiss German, called "De-r ewig Soldat"
  • Mariusz Zadura, lyrics in Polish, called "Żołnierz tego świata" ("The soldier of this world").
  • Jan Berry of Jan and Dean, 1965, lyrics changed to the opposite point of view, called "The Universal Coward" released as single. Dean Torrence objected and did not participate.
  • Lobo, 1974, on his album Just a Singer
  • Aimee Allen, performed at the Target Center in 2008 during Campaign for Liberty's "Rally for the Republic", hosted by Ron Paul.[2]
  • First Aid Kit, 2011, for Jack White's Third Man Records tri-color vinyl series.
  • Jake Bugg, 2013, performed exclusively for ONE's Agit8 campaign


The story "Kilroy Was Here", in the October 2004 edition of Smithsonian, failed to recognize the lyrics of the song, written on a cot from a Vietnam War era troopship. The error was caught and commented on by more than 285 readers.[3]


  1. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 34 - Revolt of the Fat Angel: American musicians respond to the British invaders. [Part 2] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  2. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  3. ^ "Universally Noted". Smithsonian (December). 2004. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 

External links

  • lyrics
  • Universal Soldier (Single) - Donovan Unofficial Site
  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics

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