♫ One Tin Soldier ♫

Rarely do any of you request a song, and I don’t actively solicit requests, though I always give consideration if someone mentions a song or an artist they particularly like.  Tonight, I had a request and, as I like the song and think the song speaks volumes, has meaning for us all, even today some 50 years after the song was released, I am offering this one tonight.  Most of my readers from across the pond may have never heard this song, for I understand that it never made it big outside of Canada and the U.S., but give it a listen … you might like it!

One Tin Soldier is an anti-war song, released in 1969 by Canadian pop group The Original Caste.  The song charted each year from 1969 to 1974 by various artists and on various charts in the United States and Canada. However, it did not chart outside North America.

Written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, One Tin Soldier tells the story of two neighboring tribes, the warlike Valley People and the peaceful Mountain Kingdom which possesses a great treasure buried under a stone. The Valley People demand the treasure. The Mountain People respond that they will share it with “their brothers”, but the Valley People invade and slaughter the Mountain People. On overturning the stone, they find nothing except the words “Peace On Earth” inscribed beneath it.

The song’s message, that human greed and violence is futile, is as meaningful, as imperative as it was when the song was first written.  Unless I miss my guess, it is a lesson that on the whole we still will not have learned when the human species finally leaves the earth forever.

Thank you, rawgod, for an excellent suggestion!

One Tin Soldier
The Original Caste

One tin soldier
Listen people to a story
That was written long ago,
’bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley folks below.
On the mountain was a treasure
Hidden deep beneath a stone,
And the valley people swore
They’d have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing,
Come the judgment day,
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure
Tons of gold for which they’d kill.
Came the answer from the kingdom,
With our brothers we will share,
All the riches of the mountain,
All the treasure buried there.

Now the valley cried with anger,
Mount your horses, draw your swords
And they killed the mountain people,
So they won their just rewards
Now they stood before the treasure
On the mountain dark and red
Turned the stone and looked beneath it
Peace on earth, was all it said.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat and friend,
Do it in the name of heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day,
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away.

Songwriters: Brian Potter / Dennis Earle Lambert
One Tin Soldier lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

33 thoughts on “♫ One Tin Soldier ♫

  1. Hello Jill. I love this song. As others say it was in the Bill Jack movie and I fell in love with it when I first seen the movie. I have a slightly different version of the song. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it was part of Billy Jack, and I thought about including that bit of trivia, but two things stopped me. One, I wanted readers to focus on the message of the song, and two … I was simply too tired by that time to do any more. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder why it never made it over there, for it was quite popular here, in the midst of all the anti-war protests. It was, in fact, one of the few that I actually knew the right words to! Glad you liked it, and I was certain that you would approve of the message.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps it was a little twee for the record buyers or maybe it came over but got no airtime. I think perhaps the most effective anti war song from that time is Eve of Destruction by Barry Maguire, I still play it sometimes and the words still fit all the same circumstances as today.
        Cwtch Mawr.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Other trivia: Eve of Destruction was recorded first by its writer, P.F. Sloan, once as a demo and once for possible release, but that never happened. Next it was offered to The Byrds and then The Turtles. The Byrds turned it down, The Turtles put it on an early album, but it was not released as a single till a few years later.
          The story goes that PF Sloan was working up a new version and had the music tracks laid down, when Barry McGuire was handed a mike and he read the words as he listened to the music. That reading was recorded, and the rest is history.

          Liked by 2 people

        • I agree with you re Eve of Destruction, and I played it here a while back … hmmmm … might be about time to re-run that one! You are quite right that it is as relevant today as it was then.
          Cwtch Mawr


      • When I was reading about it today, one site said it was the most requested song over 1970/71 in Canada and the USA combined. That included all versions, of course, but still that must have been quite a thrill for a group of Canadian folksingers.

        Liked by 1 person

    • But not done by the Original Caste, but by the lead singer of a band called Coven, backed by the soundtrack orchestra. That recording was eventually pulled from airplay, and Coven re-recorded it, there being questions of who should have been earning the money.
      Also later recorded by Skeeter Davis as country and western/pop.
      But who is counting?

      Liked by 2 people

        • I expect a lot of people are more aware of the Coven version, but it is only a cover version. And it was tied to the original “Billy Jack” movie. Had not the Original Caste recorded the song, I doubt it would have ever been linked to the movie.

          Liked by 2 people

        • They lasted three or four years after Soldier, had another hit with Mr. Monday. Apparently they were nig in Japan for awhile. No idea what tore them apart, or if it was just a mutual time for change.

          Liked by 1 person

          • According to Wikipedia … “The initial members of The Original Caste separated in 1972 with Graham Bruce and Bliss Mackie parting. Married couple Bruce and Dixie Innes continued to perform as The Original Caste and released songs with an increased country influence, including the full-length album Back Home. The Original Caste finally split in 1980 as Bruce and Dixie divorced. Innes continues to perform as a solo artist and later revived the band name in the new millennium.”


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