♫ One Tin Soldier ♫

Last night, I was searching through old emails from my friend Jerry, aka rawgod, for a specific email he asked me to look for from some years ago, when I came across an email from him requesting this song, One Tin Soldier.  I couldn’t remember if I had played it for him or not — turns out that I had, in March 2019.  But, as I listened to the song, read the lyrics, I realized that this is the perfect song for what this nation is dealing with today!  And at that moment, I knew I wanted to play it again, to hopefully remind us to be human, above all else.


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

27 thoughts on “♫ One Tin Soldier ♫

    • Actually, it did chart in Australia … only at #45, but still, better than the UK where it didn’t chart in the top 100 at all. It certainly is apt for the times. Sigh. Somedays I would like to fast forward 20 years … surely by then we will have learned??? Yeah, right … if we haven’t learned in thousands of years … not likely to happen in the next 20. Still, I can dream, yes?

      Like

  1. A number of good anti-war and anti-greed songs came out of the labor movement of the early 20th century and out of the Vietnam era. Most are unknown today. Here are two good if unexpected collections. My favorites are “Which side are you own?” (there’s a Peter, Paul and Mary version) and Seeger’s “Big Muddy” which aptly describes people like Trump.
    https://folkways.si.edu/classic-labor-songs-from-folkways/american-folk-struggle-protest/music/album/smithsonian
    https://www.cfr.org/blog/twenty-best-vietnam-protest-songs

    Liked by 1 person

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