Sgt Barry Sadler – Ballad of the Green Berets

It reached # 2 on the US Hot Country Songs charts, and spent a total of 14 weeks on the charts. On the Hot 100 charts, it reached # 1 on March 5, 1966, for five consecutive weeks, and a total of 13 weeks on the charts.

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Lp cover Barry Sadler ( RCA 1966 )
Lp cover Barry Sadler ( RCA 1966 )

“The Ballad of the Green Berets”, the song was written by Robin Moore & Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, Barry Sadler recorded it in December 1965, for the RCA label in New York. The song was released in January 1966, produced by Andy Wiswell, on March 19, 1966, it reached # 2 on the US Hot Country Songs charts, and spent a total of 14 weeks on the charts. On the Hot 100 charts, it reached # 1 on March 5, 1966, for five consecutive weeks, and a total of 13 weeks on the charts.

The song was included on the album, Ballads of the Green Berets (RCA 1966), the album was released in January 1966, and on March 26, 1966, it reached number # 1 on the US Top Country Albums charts, remaining a total of 12 weeks on the charts.

“The Ballad of the Green Berets” is a patriotic song in the ballad style about the United States Army Special Forces. It is one of the few popular songs of the Vietnam War years to cast the military in a positive light. 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 U.S. Army Specialist 5 James Gabriel, Jr., a Special Forces operator and 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. One verse mentioned Gabriel by name, but it was not used in the recorded version.

The song is heard in a choral performance by Ken Darby in the 1968 John Wayne film The Green Berets, based on the Robin Moore book.
The song also 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.



Single cover Barry Sadler ( RCA 1966 )
Single cover Barry Sadler ( RCA 1966 )

Versions :

The Lancastrians 1966 (PYE Records)
Johnny Paycheck 1966 (Little Darling)
Johnny Wright 1966 (Decca)
The Pick-Ups 1966 (Tip)
Herb Eaton 1966 (Hit Records)
Autry Inman 1968 (Epic)
Dolly Parton 2003 (Blue Eye Records)





Sgt Barry Sadler – Ballad of the Green Berets lyrics

[Verse 1]
Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

[Chorus]
Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America’s best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

[Verse 2]
Trained to live off nature’s land
Trained in combat hand to hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage take from the Green Beret

[Chorus]
Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America’s best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

[Verse 3]
Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He had died for those oppressed
Leaving her this last request
[Chorus]
Put silver wings on my son’s chest
Make him one of America’s best
He’ll be a man they’ll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret

Single Barry Sadler ( RCA 1966 )
Single Barry Sadler ( RCA 1966 )
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12 COMMENTS

  1. I have always loved The Ballad of The Green Berets. My son Eugene Uhl III followed in his Dad and Granddad’s footsteps. His Grandpa – Eugene Uhl (1926-1986) was in the Marines, Air Force, Army, and National Guard. His Dad Eugene Uhl Jr.(19648-2016) was in the Army and was hurt pretty bad in Viet Nam, my son Eugene Uhl III (1981-2003), was in the Army also. He served in Iraq. He intended to go to Ranger School when he came home. Well, he never came home alive. He was my last child and my only son. I sure do miss him.

  2. It’s men like your and mine (Major of Special Forces Herb Daniels ) are the caliber and dedicated men our country is sorely missing.

  3. I listened to this as a kid it still makes me shiver I had family serving during Vietnam and my future husband and his brother , this song shows the love of county and pride these soldiers had

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