Thursday, February 18, 2010
Barry Sadler and the Ballad of the Green Berets
Barry Sadler (November 1, 1940 – September 8, 1989) was a Green Beret medic and Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
Sadler became a musical phenomenon in 1966 with his hit song "Ballad of the Green Berets."The recording of his Vietnam songs was initiated by the urging of writer Robin Moore, author of the novelThe Green Berets which became a movie starring John Wayne.
Moore wrote an introduction to Sadlers' autobiography I'm a Lucky One, written with Tom Mahoney (Macmillan, 1967). The title of this book is also a Sadler recorded song. The "Ballad of the Green Berets" was picked up by RCA Records in early 1966 and became a fast-selling, reaching #1 on the yearly single charts. Sadler recorded an album of similarly themed songs, called Ballads of the Green Berets. None of the other songs on the album (which generally tell the common tales of soldiers serving in a time of war) made an impact.
Sadler was widely thought to be a writer of simple songs, and having an average voice.
Later in life and after serving time in prison for a fatal shooting, Sadler moved to Guatamala City, and it was there that he was fatally shot in the head in a taxi cab. The circumstances involving his death remain a mystery. It has been said that he shot himself accidentally, while some believe he was assassinated while training and arming the Contras. It is also possible that he was simply a victim of random violence.