On this date, 47 years ago in 1966, Sgt. Barry Sadler was atop the U.S. singles charts with “The Ballad of the Green Berets.” Sadler debuted the song on television on January 30, 1966 on The Edd Sullivan Show.
It is one of the very few songs of the 1960s to cast the military in a positive light, yet it became a major hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard charts for five weeks in 1966. It was also a crossover smash, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart and No. 2 on Billboard’s Country survey. It was the number one song of 1966 according to Billboard.