"Three-five-zero-zero" as written by and Gerome Ragni Galt Mac Dermot....
Ripped open by metal explosion
Caught in barbed wire
Bullet shock
Throbbing meat
Electronic data processing
Black uniforms
Bare feet, carbines
Mail-order rifles
Shoot the muscles
256 Viet Cong captured
256 Viet Cong captured

Prisoners in Niggertown
It's a dirty little war
Three Five Zero Zero
Take weapons up and begin to kill
Watch the long long armies drifting home

Lyrics submitted by fallacies

"Three-Five-Zero-Zero" as written by Gerome Ragni Galt Mac Dermot

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Three-Five-Zero-Zero song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentSomeone might be interested in knowing that the lyrics to this song were taken from a poem by Allen Ginsburg: "Wichita Vortex Sutra" --


    Bits and pieces taken from various parts of the (long) poem.
    awkwardboyon July 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is played to the soldiers who are wating to go to Vietnam, by people against the war.
    it descibes what terror is expecting them, when they reached Vietnam.
    when they reached Vietnam it will be them against everybody, the FNL and there own country.
    like the song. its very (what to say) 'strong'. especially when they sing it in the movie.
    cherry-blossomon April 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdoes anyone know if three five zero zero has any specific significance?
    junkon April 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'd assume "three-five-zero-zero" stands for the number of people killed... or something along those lines maybe? or even the number of people going to Vietnam... but that doesn't necessarily make sense because there were many more than 3500 people that went to fight.
    RebeccaDanceon June 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAha, very interesting. I see not quite all the lyrics are from that poem, though, just most of them. (And let me just say in passing: MAN, that's a long poem. Thank goodness for the Acrobat search function.) I wonder if the HAIR soundtrack credited Allen Ginsburg as one of the songwriters?
    Storelon September 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat does 3-5-0-0 mean?

    Answer #1: According to James Rado, it represents the number of G.I. casualties (either per week or per month, he isn‘t sure) at the height of the Vietnam War.

    Answer #2: Three-five-zero-zero, or the number three-thousand-five-hundred, is the number of Americans (Marines), who, on March 8, 1965, landed in Vietnam, the first ever to be specifically designated as COMBAT troops, thus marking a turning point, the official beginning of America‘s (or LBJ‘s) escalation of the War in Vietnam.
    O Ren Ishiion October 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThe meaning of 3500 fits with the horrific imagery of the lyrics. It is the maximum effective range in meters of the M16A1 (Colt Model 603), the last version of that weapon use in Viet Nam.
    Dynasoaron May 31, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaningchesnuttarchive.org/classroom/…
    It seems more likely in the context of the song that is comes from the historical number of black lynchings without a single conviction. See e.g. google post:Throughout the late 19th century racial tension grew throughout the United States. More of this tension was noticeable in the Southern parts of the United States. In the south, people were blaming their financial problems on the newly freed slaves that lived around them. Lynchings were becoming a popular way of resolving some of the anger that whites had in relation to the free blacks. From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people that were lynched 3,446 were black. "Lynching Statistics 1882-1968" ( suggest that surreal lyric would round this number off)
    scout17on November 04, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song, man. The individual words, in juxtaposition and in the context with the expanding music, paint such a horrific picture of war. The second part then provides a contrasting image with the celebratory, parade-like music. Whoo, this song gets me every time.
    jcovarruon June 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningMarch 8, 1965 - The first U.S. combat troops arrive in Vietnam as 3500 Marines land at China Beach to defend the American air base at Da Nang. They join 23,000 American military advisors already in Vietnam.

    Source: historyplace.com/unitedstates/vietnam/…

    That should be the origin of the 3500, not anything about number of casualties.

    The number 256 must be about this man who was a prisoner of war: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    Seaman Apprentice (E-2) Douglas B. Hegdahl is a former United States Navy sailor who was a prisoner of war (POW) during the Vietnam War. After his early release by North Vietnam, upon returning to the United States, he was able to provide the names and personal information of about 256 other POWs as well as revealing the conditions in the prison camp.

    In the anti war song, I guess they use the same famous number but for the Viet Cong prisoners instead.
    skunkjobbon July 11, 2013   Link

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