Country music songwriter Curly Putnam has died aged 85 following a lengthy illness.
Putman is best remembered for penning classic songs for the likes of George Jones, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Chet Atkins, including the classics Green, Green Grass of Home and D-I-V-O-R-C-E. He died on October 30 (16).
The songwriter, real name Claude Putman Jr, was born in Princeton, Alabama. He spent time in the U.S. Navy before picking up a steel guitar and beginning his career as a songwriter.
He got his big break in 1965 when Porter Wagoner recorded Green, Green Grass of Home – which had failed to chart for Johnny Darrell – and it hit number five on the country chart . The song later became a hit for Welsh crooner Tom Jones, and Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, the Grateful Dead and Dean Martin all recorded their own versions.
His fame as a writer was such that in 1974 Paul and Linda MCCartney visited the musician in Nashville for a series of recording sessions, spending six weeks at his Wilson County farm.
Credited with writing Dolly Parton’s first hit, Dumb Blonde, and co-writing D-I-V-O-R-C-E for Tammy Wynette with his collaborator Bobby Braddock, Putman also penned He Stopped Loving Her Today, regarded as one of the greatest country songs of all time.
It helped resurrect the career of George Jones when his version was awarded song of the year by the Country Music Association in both 1980 and 1981.
In an interview with Variety shortly before his death, Putnam spoke about his musical legacy.
"Everything I write is pretty sad. I believe that touches people of all kinds," he admitted. "Green, Green Grass of Home and He Stopped Loving Her Today were people-type songs, not just something that’s gonna be out there one day and gone the next.”
The Alabama native was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976.
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