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Posted by: In: Other 12 Jun 2022 Comments: 0


255-Buffy Sainte-Marie-Universal Soldier.

1964-Has never been released as a single in the UK.

Best Bit-At 2.01. One of the greatest anti war songs, but perhaps more poignantly, the most controversial of them all.

Buffy Sainte-Marie whose real name is Beverly Sainte-Marie was born on February 20th, 1941, on the Piapot 75 reserve, in the Qu’ Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada, to Cree parents. As an infant she was abandoned, and then adopted by Albert and Winifred Sainte-Marie, who were a couple of ‘Mi’kmaq descent, who took her to live with them in Massachusetts, United States, where she grew up, attending the University of Massachusetts, earning degrees in teaching, and Oriental philosophy. Throughout her life Buffy Sainte-Marie has always fought for, and championed the rights of the indigenous peoples of the America’s. Between 1976-1981 she regularly appeared on the educational television programme ‘Sesame Street,’ helping with their Native American programming, and in 1997 she founded the ‘Cradleboard Teaching Project,’ an educational curriculum devoted to better understanding of Native Americans. Buffy Sainte-Marie has released 17 studio Albums between 1964-2017, there are also seven official Anthologies available. She has issued 13 singles between 1965-2017, with two of those songs reaching the Canadian top 40, and three making the UK chart, where ‘Soldier Blue’ from 1971, charted the highest when making Number 7.

Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote ‘Universal Soldier’ in 1963, after seeing wounded soldiers returning from Vietnam. The song is very controversial because it says that the soldier is the one to blame, he or she is the one who has the choice to fire, or not fire their weapon, he or she has the choice to follow or not follow the politicians orders. Buffy Sainte-Marie has explained some of the songs lyrics,’I’ve always worked very hard to make my protest songs bulletproof, when it says, ‘He’s 5-foot-2 and he’s 6-feet-,’ I didn’t make that up, those were the height parameters of the Vietnam War.” She has also stated that she wrote the song from the perspective of a student writing an essay for a professor who didn’t see eye to eye with her perspective, in the hope that people could see a different point of view.

‘Universal Soldier’ was never issued as a single by Buffy Sainte-Marie, and first appeared on her debut Album ‘It’s My Way’ released in April 1964. In 1965 the song came to the attention of the Scottish Folk/Rock singer Donovan, who recorded it as part of his ‘Universal Soldier EP’. In 1965 Jan Berry (1941-2004) of Jan and Dean fame (see also best songs 811) released as a single an ‘answer song’ to ‘Universal Soldier,’ presenting the opposite point of view, it was called ‘The Universal Coward,’ which was a scathing attack on anti war protesters. Jan Berry’s musical partner Dean Torrence objected and did not participate in the recording.

‘He’s the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame, his orders come from far away no more. They come from him and you and me, and brothers can’t you see this is not the way we put an end to war.’