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"The Ballad of the Green Berets"
""Ballad of the Green Berets.jpg
"Single by "Barry Sadler
from the album Ballads of the Green Berets
"B-side "Letter from Vietnam"
Released January 1966
"Genre "Country, "folk, "pop
Length 2:27
"Label "RCA Victor
"Songwriter(s) "Robin Moore, "Staff Sgt. "Barry Sadler
"Producer(s) Andy Wiswell[1]
"Barry Sadler singles chronology
"The Ballad of the Green Berets"
(1966)
"The 'A' Team"
(1966)
"The Ballad of the Green Berets"
(1966)
"The 'A' Team"
(1966)

"The Ballad of the Green Berets" is a patriotic song in the "ballad style about the "Green Berets, an elite "special force in the "U.S. Army. It is one of the few popular songs of the Vietnam War years to cast the military in a positive light and in 1966 became a major hit, reaching No. 1 for five weeks on the "Billboard Hot 100 and four weeks on "Cashbox. Ultimately, the song was named "Billboard's #10 single for the year 1966. It was also a crossover smash, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart and No. 2 on Billboard's Country survey.

The song was written by then "Staff Sgt. "Barry Sadler, beginning when he was training to be a Special Forces medic. The author Robin Moore, who wrote the book, The Green Berets, helped Sadler write the lyrics and get a recording contract with RCA Records.

The lyrics were written, in part, in honor of Green Beret U.S. Army Specialist 5 James Gabriel, Jr., the first "native Hawaiian to die in Vietnam, who was killed by Viet Cong gunfire while on a training mission with the South Vietnamese Army on April 8, 1962.[2] One verse mentioned Gabriel by name, but it was not used in the recorded version.[3]

Sadler recorded the song and eleven other tunes in New York in December 1965. The song and album, "Ballads of the Green Berets," were released in January 1966. He performed the song on television on January 30, 1966 on "The Ed Sullivan Show, and on other TV shows including Hollywood Palace and The Jimmy Dean Show.

Contents

Popularity[edit]

The song was the No. 1 hit in the U.S. for the five weeks, spanning March 1966 and the No. 1 hit on the "Cashbox end of the year chart for 1966; also the No. 21 song of the 1960s as ranked by "Joel Whitburn. The single sold more than nine million copies; the album, more than two million.

"The Ballad of the Green Berets" is currently used as one of the four primary "marching tunes of the "Fightin' Texas Aggie Band.

In film[edit]

The song is heard in a choral rendition by "Ken Darby in the 1968 "John Wayne film, "The Green Berets, based on "Robin Moore's book. The film's score was not released as an album until "Film Score Monthly released it in 2005. A movie "tie-in featuring artwork from the film and a "cover version by "Ennio Morricone was released in Europe, though the album's other tracks were from "A Fistful of Dollars and "For a Few Dollars More.

The song appears in the films "More American Graffiti and "Canadian Bacon. It can also be heard in the gun show scene of the 2002 film "Showtime, and in the film "Jesus' Son, in a scene that features a hitch-hiking "Jack Black.

A vinyl copy of "The Ballad of the Green Berets" makes a brief appearance in ""The Simpsons" episode ""Homer's Phobia", from the show's eighth season. Guest star and filmmaker "John Waters is seen, near the five-minute mark, flipping through Homer and Marge's record collection; Sadler's hit is amongst them.

Bill Murray briefly sang "Green Berets" in the 1980 film "Caddyshack during his final attempt to kill the gopher.

The cast of the 2018 movie "12 Strong sing the tune as their Chinook helicopter takes off.

Covers and derivatives[edit]

Many American "cover versions of the song appeared recorded by artists ranging from "Kate Smith and "Duane Eddy to unknown artists singing on various "drugstore records.

The punk rock band "The F.U.'s performed a cover of the song, featured on the album "This Is Boston, Not L.A.

Many cover versions are in different languages rewritten to reference local units; these include:

Parodies[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
position
Germany ("Official German Charts)[6] 4
South Africa (Springbok Radio SA Top 20) [7] 1
"UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[8] 24
US "Billboard Hot 100[9] 1
US "Adult Contemporary ("Billboard)[10] 1
US "Hot Country Songs ("Billboard)[11] 2

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]


Preceded by
""These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by "Nancy Sinatra
"Billboard Hot 100 "number one single
March 5, 1966 (five weeks)
Succeeded by
""(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" by "The Righteous Brothers
Preceded by
""Crying Time" by Ray Charles
Billboard "Easy Listening Singles number-one single (SSgt Barry Sandler version)
March 5, 1966 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
""I Want to Go with You" by Eddy Arnold
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