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This song's message is that human greed and violence is futile. A "Tin Soldier" is a miniature toy soldier. (thanks, Ken - Ottawa, FL)
The songwriting team of Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter wrote this. They wrote songs for Dusty Springfield, The Four Tops and Glen Campbell.
In 1969, this was a #34 US hit for a short-lived Canadian band called Original Caste as simply "One Tin Soldier." Original Caste's version reached US #34 and went to #1 in Canada.
Coven's version was used as the theme from the 1971 independent film Billy Jack.
In 1973, Coven released a re-recorded version of the song which reached US #79. In 1974, their version from 1971 was reissued, reaching US #73. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 4)
Supertramp founder Roger Hodgson
Roger tells the stories behind some of his biggest hits, including "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home" and "The Logical Song."
Van Dyke Parks
U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.