The timing of Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler's number-one smash "The Ballad of the Green Berets" couldn't have been more impeccable. Released in early 1966, when anti-war sentiment was beginning to swell, "The Ballad of the Green Berets" tapped into an enormous wellspring of patriotic fervor among Americans who were tired of the dissent and ambiguity surrounding Vietnam, and desperately wanted confirmation of America's heroism and moral virtue; that they were on the right side. Sadler was the perfect man to supply it: he was himself a member of the Green Berets, the Army's elite Special Forces unit, and a wounded Vietnam veteran who wanted to pay tribute to his comrades in arms. Although "The Ballad of the Green Berets" was the biggest hit single of 1966, Sadler never duplicated its blockbuster success, and soon retired from music to become a successful author.