Donovan is a Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist.
Written in the early 1960s by Canadian Buffy Sainte-Marie, 'Universal Soldier' is commonly interpreted as a response to the war in Vietnam, but it was actually written prior to U.S. involvement in the war. The song received some attention when Sainte-Marie released it, but it became a hit after Donovan covered it in 1965. Of the song, 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.'
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, 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 them at Dachau? 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 the end to war.