Agency Man

Notes and Comments

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Sell us a president, agency man
Smiling big brother, stern father perhaps
Sell us a president, agency man
A gay smiling nothing
we know never craps
  For this phenomenon (he never goes duty) continuity check out
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One, two, three, four!

When he's closed the schools
And burned the books the way we've planned
We'll get the press together
And the
Barry Sadler Band!
  In fact this stance cannot be heard on this particular version of the song. It belongs to Mystery Disc studio permutation, but because MD N&C is yet to be done why not to explain it here
From: Randy Cech (
  In the song Agency Man both versions on MD mention the Barry Sandler band. Okay you old farts any recollection of a real Barry Sandler band in the late 1960's my crack research staff have come up empty handed.
From: John Henley (
  It's Barry Sadler, and he was an ex-Green Beret officer who had one "novelty" hit in 1966 or '67 with a super-patriotic number called "The Ballad of the Green Berets." It sold a few million copies to people who thought hippies were just communists with long hair. Couldn't get away from it on AM radio for quite a stretch. I think he's dead now.
From: Michael Gula (
  Can someone identify that funny little tune that comes after mention of the Barry Sadler Band in "Agency Man?" Or is that a Zappa original?
From: Steve Cobham (
  Phew............ It's in C and it goes G.....C D CC and it does seem somehow familiar. Reminds me of something mainstream classical - in 3/4 time? - that I've heard, but, with so few notes, I'm sure there's a lot of pieces that would fit them. Sort of makes you think it should be familiar after a few plays, doesn't it? I'm not familiar with Barry Sadler - apart from knowing that he "recorded" - and that's being kind perhaps - "Ballad Of The Green Berets" Could it be a quote from that?
From: John Henley (
  It's an inexact perversion of the melody from Sadler's hit, "The Ballad of the Green Berets." Words go something like:
"Pin a star upon his vest "Make him one of America's best..."
  Haven't heard it in years and don't need to.
From: Vladmir Sovetov
  Here is some family and official info
  The song itself -
  U.S. Army Special Forces: The Green Berets
  The Ballad of the Green Berets
  Army Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler helped write "The Ballad of the Green Berets" while recuperating from a leg wound suffered during his service as a medic in the Vietnam War.
  He later sang the tune on a record that became the nation's No. 1 hit for five weeks in 1966 and eventually sold 9 million singles and albums.
  These are the words to the popular anthem of the Special Forces, "The Ballad of the Green Berets."
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.

Silver wings upon their chests,
These are men, America's best,
One hundred men we'll test today,
But only three win the Green Beret.

Trained to live off nature's land,
Trained in combat, hand to hand,
Men who fight by night and day,
Courage take from the Green Beret.

Silver wings upon their chests,
These are men, America's best,
Men who mean just what they say,
The brave men of the Green Beret.

Back at home a young wife waits,
Her Green Beret has met his fate,
He has died for those oppressed,
Leaving her this last request:

Put silver wings on my son's chest,
Make him one of America's best,
He'll be a man they'll test one day,
Have him win the Green Beret.
  And a brief snippet from Bio of Sgt. Sadler by his oldest son Thor.
  After he earned the coveted beret, he went to Afrika, Israel, Europe, and finally to South East Asia. During the early parts of Vietnam he was know as a "floater". If a medic in a A-Team was injured or killed, Dad would fill that slot until a full-time replacement came in. This still doesn't make sense to me, perhaps I misunderstood him. In 1967, he landed in a punji stick pit. It messed his leg up really bad. The doctors considered removing his leg at one point but decided to leave it be and keep it clean. To the day he died, Dad's leg would bother him.
  Anyway while Dad was resting at Da Nang (I think), he would entertain the other wounded and himself by playing his self-taught guitar. Him and other GI's would work the words together that would later become know as "
  On a particular day a newscrew entered the hospital to film America's children dying and suffering in a foreign land, just in time for the 5 o'clock news and dinner time. Nice guys. Well, someone suggested that Dad play that song they were working on. And so he played and sang Ballad of the Green Berets for the first time to the American audience.
  The reaction was stunning. People were calling all across the nation wanting that song. RCA execs said let's see if we can sign his guy to cut an album. So I imagine through the Army they got a hold of Dad. And the Army now had a poster child for the Vietnam War. Dad cut the album, did the USO tour thing. Got pissed 'cause he wasn't doing what he was trained for, and left the service.
  For the record, Robin Moore wrote the last stanza with Dad, about "putting silver wings on my son's chest." And Dad did pin those wings on me in 1986. The proudest day of my life!
  Dad donated money from the record to the families surviving their fallen GI's and I believe Dad paid for part of that statue in front of the JFK Museum. He opened a bar that went bust and we lived in Tucson, AZ for a while before moving to Nashville, TN in 1972. There, Dad got back into the music industry with some unfortunate remakes and other less-than-successful ventures. He went on the road for a while doing shows or guest speaking at events.
  During the mid 70's Dad killed a jerk who was threatening him and his girlfriend at the time. After Dad stomped him in a bar in Nashville, the guy publicly stated he'll kill my father. Dad retorted, "You're not the irst to try, and you won't be the last." A few weeks later, at night under a street light, the guy pulls up in his van next to Dad. Dad saw the sparkle of shining metal in his hands, Dad then popped a cap on the guy nailing him right between the eyes. Not bad for a night hit. Anyway, when Dad checked the corpse, the jerk was unarmed. The scumbag flashed his keys and my father mistook it for a gun. The dumbass shouldn't make threats lightly.
  Dad called the cops and later pleaded guilty to Second Degree Manslaughter. The judge took everything into consideration and Dad spent 30 days in a half-way house. I guess that corpse was a real value to the community. Needless to say the whole affair was less than ideal for my mother. They asked if us kids would rather move due to all the publicity and the hazing we could get from school. He told them we'll stay and face our enemies.
  When I was confronted by a wet-nose punk, who called my father a murderer, I remarked, "Look asshole. Like father, like son." A public statement like that usually had a chilling effect on the masses. Occasionally, Baron and I got into scraps but mostly for wanting a fight and not over Dad or anything serious.
Let's try California
Pay us first before we do it!
We'll get a smiling nazi
And marching right on through
Rent a baby
Kiss a baby
Ladies in for tea
  Actually this is a song about Ronald Reagan', then Governer of California, Pre-Election-Wise Maneuvers of '68.
  Here is some info from official bio of Ron
  Reagan campaigned as a Democrat for Eisenhower. Reagan accepted a job as spokesman for the General Electric Company which allowed him to tour the country giving speeches.
  Mar 4 1952
  Reagan and Nancy Davis wed.
  Oct 21 1952
  Patricia was born.
  Reagan campaigned as a Democrat for Eisenhower.
  May 20 1958
  Ronald Prescott was born.
  Reagan campaigned for Richard Nixon for President.
  Reagan officially changed his party registration to Republican.
  Reagan's television address for Goldwater, "A Time for Choosing," launched his political career. A group of California businessmen soon afterward supported Reagan's candidacy for Governor.
  Reagan's autobiography, Where's the Rest of Me? is published.
  Reagan defeated incumbent governor Edmund G. ("Pat") Brown in a landslide. His success in the election and as governor made him a leading contender for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1968.
  Reagan made a tentative run for the presidency, waiting until the Republican National Convention to announce his candidacy. He later joined in unanimously supporting Richard Nixon.
  Reagan is re-elected governor.
From: Vladmir Sovetov
  Also interesting note from Greg Russo's book about song being prophetic.
  "Bill Casey was Reagan's campaign manager in the '60s, and he later became head of the CIA." p.52
  Yes, the Agency Man for real.
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We'll sell him in the movies
On the tube throughout the year
We'll sell him by the buckets
To the
okies drinking beer
We'll teach him how to walk and talk
We'll putty up his chin
We'll print his picture everywhere
Of course the schmuck will win
From: Patrick Neve (
"Okie" is a sometimes derogatory reference to persons from Oklohoma. Over time it's use has expanded to include persons not necessarily from the state itself, but who might exhibit hick-like behaviour. The term dates back to the dustbowl period of American history, when throughout the 1930's, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes due to drifting topsoil. In that regard it's also sometimes used to describe a person with entirely too much stuff piled up on the back of their pickup truck, as if they had packed up all their worldly belongings and were fleeing the dustbowl. Suggested reading/viewing: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.
  To Album Refs
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From the heart of old Death Valley
To the ruling of our land
A simple trick you simple pigs
Just the way we planned
From: Vladimir Sovetov
  Most probably reference to the Death Valley Days TV show Ronald Reagan hosted for some time since 1965.
  For more clues check out The Blue Light. TINSEL TOWN REBELLION N&C

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