The story behind the band and song coming together is a strange one. Coven, featuring a beautiful singer named Jinx Dawson, was a group of Satan worshipers. They used to play gigs with one of their roadies hanging from a cross until the last song when he would hop down from the cross, spin it upside down and run from the stage. They were signed to Mercury Records by a producer out of Chicago named Bill Traut. Traut had it in his mind to one day record a black mass and release it to the public. Coven's first release on Mercury was a cover version of "Gloria". The catalog number on the single was 666. Coven didn't make much of a splash. They released an album called "Witchcraft" and this was to be the beginning of the end of their association with Mercury. Esquire Magazine did a story about the counter culture's deepening ties with the dark arts. At the same time, the Tate-LaBianca murders were big in the news. The Esquire cover featured a photo of Manson. One of the items Manson was holding in the photo was a copy of Coven's "Witchcraft". Traut had the album pulled from circulation.
Now without a label, Coven was floundering even more. Along came Tom Laughlin who was making the film "Billy Jack". He had a song for the film and asked Coven to do it. They hated it. But they badly needed the money. And the rest, as they say, is history. "One Tin Soldier" was Coven's only hit song. Afterwards, they broke up.
The last time I saw Jinx Dawson, she was running a party and reception hall next to a small lake north of Indianapolis. The name of the place was Dawson's Lake. From what I understand, she had given up on the witchcraft stuff. Still, here was a band from the heartland of Indiana who beat bands like Black Sabbath to the occult theme only to end up doing a song with an almost pro-Christian, pro-life, anti-war message. The irony was never lost on me.