Curly Putman, known for writing major country standards such as “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “Green Green Grass of Home,” has died. He passed away early Sunday morning (10-30) just outside of Nashville. Curly Putman was 85-years-old.
Putnam had a prolific songwriting career, including writing such songs as “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and “My Elusive Dreams” by Tammy Wynette, “Dumb Blonde” by Dolly Parton, T.G. Sheppard’s “Do You Want To Go To Heaven,” and a dozen other successful charting singles.
But two songs would go on to define Curly Putnam’s contributions. The first was “Green Green Grass of Home”—a hit first for Porter Wagoner, later for Tom Jones, and went on to be recorded by more than 30 times, including by the likes of Bobby Bare, Roger Miller, Charley Pride, Dean Martin, Johnny Cash, Hank Snow, Joan Baez, George Jone, Elvis, and The Grateful Dead.
This success would only be topped when Putman wrote what many consider the greatest country music song of all time with Bobby Braddock—George Jones’s “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Released in 1980, it revitalized George’s career, and forever etched Curly Putnam’s name in the annals of some of the most respected songwriters in country music.
Born Claude Putman, Jr., he was born in Princeton, Alabama, and raised on raised on Putman Mountain in Alabama. After a four year stint in the Navy stationed on an aircraft carrier, he scored his first big hit “Green Green Grass of Home” while working for Tree Publishing as a song plugger in Nashville.
Curly Putman also had a small career as a performer for ABC records, charting in the Top 30 with “The Prison Song,” and releasing a couple of albums for the label. Putnam also had some influence in the rock world. Paul McCartney’s band Wings recorded a song called “Junior’s Farm” that was inspired by a stay at Curly’s farm in Wilson County, Tennessee in 1974.
Curly Putman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976, and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993.