Curly Putnam Heading For The Green Green Grass of Home

Curly Putman.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

Claude “Curly” Putman, has died at the age of 85. Putnam was a prolific songwriter writing or co-writing such hits as Tammy Wynette’s classic DIVORCE with Bobby Braddock and the George Jones comeback hit He Stopped Loving Her Today. But he is probably best known for the all time favourite Green, Green Grass of Home, which propelled Tom Jones to stardom

Curly was born and raised in Princeton, Alabama, on a mountain named after his family where his father worked in the sawmill where he would also work after school. He went to Southern University Junior College before spending four years in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Valley Forge.

After leaving the Navy, he played steel guitar with a band in Huntsville, Alabama, where he met his future wife, Bernice They would marry in 1956. They moved around for several years eventually settling in Huntsville where he worked in a shoe store. As a songwriter he had his first cuts from Marion Worth and Grand Ole Opry star Charlie Walker. He was transferred to a Nashville store before moving to Memphis then back to Huntsville where he played in a band at night. In 1960, he recorded "The Prison Song," a top 30 single. On a 1963 visit to Nashville, he ran into Buddy Killen, who was working for music-publishing company Tree International.who hired Putnam as a song plugger.

A song inspired by Putnams penchant for moving around "My Elusive Dreams," was a 1967 country chart-topper for Tammy Wynette and David Houston, a song he he co-wrote with Billy Sherrill. Putman's own version was just of shy country's Top 40. That same year, he wrote Dolly Parton's first hit, "Dumb Blonde.". One of Putman's favourite collaborators was fellow Tree songwriter Bobby Braddock, with whom he wrote Wynette's "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," a country number one and He Stopped Loving Her Today.

When Paul and Linda McCartney recorded in Nashville in 1974, the couple stayed at Putman's farm in nearby Wilson County. The experience inspired McCartney to write his Top Five hit "Junior's Farm."

Putman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976.

Other memorable hits penned by Putman included Tanya Tucker's 1973 number one "Blood Red and Goin' Down," T.G. Sheppard's "Do You Wanna Go to Heaven," "I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again," recorded by both Kenny Rogers and T. Graham Brown, and the Christmas tune "There's a New Kid in Town." In the late Sixties, Putman recorded a pair of LPs for ABC Records, followed by a pair of singles for RCA.

Putman is survived by his wife Bernice, son Troy and daughter-in-law Beth, two grandsons and a granddaughter. A son and grandson preceded him in death.
R.I.P. Curly Putnam