Song of the Day: SSGT Barry Sadler – Ballad of the Green Berets 25 May 15

“The Ballad of the Green Berets” is a patriotic song in the ballad style about the Green Berets, an elite special forcein the U.S. Army. It is one of the very few songs of the 1960s to cast the military in a positive light and in 1966 it became a major hit, reaching No. 1 for five weeks on the Hot 100 and four weeks on Cashbox. 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 Robin Moore and Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, while the latter was recuperating from a leg wound suffered as a medic in the Vietnam War. Moore also wrote a book, The Green Berets, about the force. The tune itself is borrowed from the traditional American folk song “The Butcher Boy“.