Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: The Ballad Of The Green BeretsReleased: 1966Charted:
Sadler wrote this song to boost morale among the American troops fighting in Vietnam when public opinion was low. Sadler was injured by a punji stick (a type of booby trap), and while laid up in the hospital released the rights to this song so it could be heard.
Sadler was a member of the Green Berets, the US Army's elite Special Forces unit. He was serving as a medic and he nearly had to have his leg amputated after he was injured. While he was recuperating, he wrote songs for other wounded soldiers. A TV news crew filmed him singing this at the hospital, and when the footage aired in the US, it became a huge hit very quickly.
This served as the inspiration for a John Wayne film called The Green Berets. It was parodied by the left wing English singer Billy Bragg in his "The Marching Song Of The Covert Battalions."
In the US, this was the biggest-selling single of 1966. It was a #1 hit for five weeks and was the #21 song of the '60s.
Barry Sadler was shot in the head during a robbery attempt at his home in Guatemala in 1988. He returned to America where he died from heart failure the following year.