Written in the basement of Toronto’s Purple Onion coffeehouse in the early 1960s, Universal Soldier became an anthem for the growing movement against the war in Vietnam. In this early stage of her career, Buffy Sainte-Marie became known as a writer of protest and love songs. However, Sainte-Marie was not active in the mass protests of the peace movement, preferring instead to focus her activism on Native American rights and environmental issues. Even so, she was among artists whose work was blacklisted by the White House: President Lyndon Johnson found their music “deserved to be suppressed.” Much of her best material from this early period gained its greatest commercial inroads via cover versions. In 1965, Universal Soldier became one of folk pop singer Donovan’s first international hits.