Saturday, April 22, 2006

The One Tin Soldier

A big influence of my early years was the movie Billy Jack, especially its theme song, "The One Tin Soldier," written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter in 1969, the same year I was born. The theme of the song seems to be very similar to me dissertation--very Yao-like. Yes, it harkens back to the sunshine daydreams of the hippy days of yore, but it is also very pertinent to what is taking place in contemporary America. Here are the lyrics:
Listen children to a story that was written long ago
'bout a kingdom on a mountain and the valley folk below.
On the mountain was a treasure buried 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, justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowin' 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 an answer from the kingdom: "With our brothers we will share
all the secrets of our mountain, all the riches buried there."

Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven, justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowin' come the judgment day
on the bloody morning after one tin soldier rides away.

Now the valley cried with anger; mount your horses, draw your sword,
and they killed the mountain people, so they won their just reward.
Now they stood beside 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 a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven, justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowin' come the judgment day
on the bloody morning after one tin soldier rides away.

4 Comments:

Blogger Rob said...

I was born the same year as you! I haven't thought about that song for years. It does have a timeless feel to it. Especially now.

3:14 AM  
Blogger Wulingren said...

Cool! You're either a monkey or a chicken by Chinese standards, depending on which month you were born. I think our births were framed by some amazing events--both positive and negative--that year. But, judging from songs like this, there was a certain awareness among some folk, hope in the possibility of peace on earth but also a recognition that there were those who would do anything to prevent that from happening. Billy Jack was a sort of iconic movie of my childhood, though I don't know what I would feel about it now. The official site, to which I linked (might have some trouble with firefox) is also pretty cool.

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't thought about this song in years either. We sang it for an elementary school concert in the 80s.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Wulingren said...

I remember performing in a skit at camp when I was 9, where we had to sing it, but my sister had exposed me to the One Tin Soldier long before that, and I remember seeing Billy Jack at a very young age.

9:24 PM  

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