Jan Berry: The Universal Coward (1965)

 |   |  1 min read

Jan Berry: The Universal Coward (1965)

Jan Berry was half of the surf pop group Jan and Dean, and he co-wrote this song with Jill Gibson as an answer to Buffy Sainte-Marie's Universal Soldier of the same year which had been covered by Donovan and Glen Campbell.

His partner Dean Torrance – who had done an Army Reserve stint – wanted nothing to do with it.

It's blunt! A real Cold War classic in a way.

Protestors are just cowards. 

The coward runs from a giant, a human and  . . .an elf?

They were clearly struggling for the rhyme with "himself".

Hilarious, if it wasn't so reductive and poisonous.

Patriotism is the last refuge for the scoundrel. Right?

This comes from a remarkable box set -- Next Stop is Vietnam; The War on Record 1961-2008 -- which Elsewhere has drawn from previously (see here).war

This massive, 13 CD set of songs, radio spots and recordings made in-country by soldiers brings together all the most well known songs about the war in Vietnam alongside many dozens of schmaltzy, obscure, seldom-heard and strange records which had the war/soldiers/patriotism/dissent as their theme.

With an accompanying book (not a booklet) of photos, potted history and notes on the songs and artists this is one magnificent album-sized monster of a history lesson pulled together by Bear Family Records out of Germany (here).

If you want to hear my 35 minute radio interview in which I play a number of Vietnam-era songs and speak about travel there and so on it is here.

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Paul McCartney: My Valentine (2012)

Paul McCartney: My Valentine (2012)

For the past few years on this day (February 14), it has been Elsewhere's habit to post the lovely Valentine by Nils Lofgren (with help from Bruce Springsteen) but this time . . . Paul... > Read more

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood: Down from Dover (1972)

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood: Down from Dover (1972)

Interest lies perhaps not in this dark song but what is written in ballpoint on the cover of the album I have. A thick line is drawn through the title on the back cover and in block capitals beside... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

HOW BIZARRE by SIMON GRIGG (Awa Press)

HOW BIZARRE by SIMON GRIGG (Awa Press)

The first time I heard OMC's massive hit How Bizarre outside of New Zealand was in Tokyo, the second time I caught the clip on MTV Europe while I was in an Amsterdam hotel gearing up to go and... > Read more

RIP RIG + PANIC: GOD, CONSIDERED (1981): Post-punk demented dervish heart-attack jazz'n'rock funk

RIP RIG + PANIC: GOD, CONSIDERED (1981): Post-punk demented dervish heart-attack jazz'n'rock funk

When you name your post-punk debut after an album by the great jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk you have really upped the stakes and expectation. And when the band is formed around Mark... > Read more