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Sadler wrote this song to idolize the troops in Vietnam when public opinion was low. He 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. (thanks, Mike - Pittsburgh, PA)
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 5 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. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 4)
Jon Foreman of Switchfoot
Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly
what he means.
Andy McClusky of OMD
Known in America for the hit "If You Leave," OMD is a huge influence on modern electronic music.
A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.
Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind. Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand
, is a fan.