Universal Soldier was written and recorded by Canadian Buffy Sainte-Marie and released on her debut album It's My Way in 1964.
Sainte-Marie said "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."
However, it wasn't popular at the time of its release.
In the mid-1960's Pye Records launched budget record label Marble Arch Records to release older material on inexpensive albums, and several of Donovan's 1965 recordings were selected for release in 1967 as Universal Soldier.
This was the second compilation album by Donovan who started his singing career in Torquay.
Featuring one of the best anti-war songs which became part of the soundtrack to the anti-Vietnam struggle, the EP reached #5 and remained on the charts for 18 weeks.
The USA single release of Universal Soldier reached #53 on the Billboard charts.
Here's the lyrics:
He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
He's been a soldier for a thousand years.
He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.
And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.
And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.
But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Labau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.
He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put an end to war.
... and here's Donovan with his version: