The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #26140   Message #4142943
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
30-May-22 - 10:19 PM
Thread Name: Discussion: Universal Soldier
Subject: RE: Lyric Corr: Universal Soldier
Juliette Jagger of Canada's National Music Centre's Amplify May 3 2019

When the idea for “Universal Soldier” first entered Sainte-Marie’s mind, she was hauled up at San Francisco International Airport. The year was 1963; Kennedy was president, the impending threat of the Cold War weighed heavy on the psyche of the nation, and the U.S. had been in Vietnam for eight years at that point. Promises of a golden age had yet to materialize for America, and the youth of the day, suspicious that the reports being fed to them by the news media were nothing but a ruse, had developed a deep mistrust of government.

“I had been traveling from Mexico to Toronto and had a layover in San Francisco,” recalls Sainte-Marie. “In the middle of the night a group of medics came into the airport wheeling wounded soldiers and we got to talking. I asked one of them if there really was a war in Vietnam because the politicians at home were saying there wasn’t one. The medics assured me there was indeed a huge war going on. I started writing the song in the airport and on the plane, and I finished it in the basement of the Purple Onion in Toronto.”

“In those days, we hung out in coffee houses and people talked, discussed, shared, discovered, sang and listened when it came to contemporary issues,” says Sainte-Marie. “Because of what was going on back then, a lot of people adopted ‘Universal Soldier’ as an anti-Vietnam anthem. But, the song isn’t just about Vietnam; it’s about all wars and our own individual and collective involvement in them.”