Vietnam Music Monday: “Ballad of the Green Berets”

Ballad of the Green Berets

“Ballad of the Green Berets” was released on Barry Sadler’s 1966 album, The Ballad of the Green Berets. (Newseum collection)

Music played an important cultural role during the Vietnam War, representing the rebellious views of a young generation and the traditional values of an older, so-called “silent majority.” The Newseum selected 40 songs released between 1963 and 1973 that typified the music of the Vietnam era. The songs captured the emotions of people for and against the war and reflected the mood of an increasingly diverse country amid dramatic social and political change.

The 40 songs, part of the Newseum’s “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit, are a fraction of the hundreds of recordings that dealt with the war and civil disobedience. Each week, one song from the playlist will be featured. We encourage you to add your favorite songs of the era to the comment section!

Ballad of the Green Berets (1966)

Barry Sadler

To counter anti-war songs such as Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction,” Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, a member of the Army’s elite Green Berets, recorded “Ballad of the Green Berets.” The song, based on the popular novel “The Green Berets,” sat atop the music charts for five weeks and became an anthem for pro-war “hawks.”


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

Purchase “Ballad of the Green Berets” on Amazon or iTunes.

“Reporting Vietnam,” a new exhibit that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of America’s first televised war, explores the dramatic stories of how journalists brought news about the war to a divided nation.

CBS News

Contributing support for the “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit is provided by CBS Corporation, in memory of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon.

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