Curly Putman

Induction Year: 1976

Birth Name: Claude Putman Jr.

Birth Date: 11-20-1930

Place of Birth: Princeton, Alabama

Death Date: 10-30-2016

Place of Death: Lebanon, TN

The Alabama-reared son of a sawmill worker, Curly Putman wrote some of country music's most memorable songs, including "Green, Green Grass of Home," "My Elusive Dreams" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

Putman grew up working at the sawmill, and he learned to play steel guitar while in high school. After a brief college career, he joined the U.S. Navy and spent four years on the U.S.S. Valley Forge aircraft carrier, sailing to Korea and Europe. Upon his discharge, he moved back to Alabama and endured a series of odd jobs. His "I Think I Know" became a Top 10 country hit for Marion Worth in 1960, but he didn't move to Nashville permanently until 1964, when he was hired by music publisher Buddy Killen to work for Tree International as a song plugger.

A year later, Putman sat at the Tree office on a Sunday afternoon and spent two hours writing "Green, Green Grass of Home." Johnny Darrell was the first to cut that song, then Porter Wagoner's 1965 version became a #4 country hit. Dozens of other cover versions piled up, and Tom Jones' version was a #11 pop hit in America and an international hit as well.

Putman went on to write other significant country songs. His "Dumb Blonde" was Dolly Parton's first chart hit in 1967. In 1968, he and Billy Sherrill wrote "My Elusive Dreams," which became a #1 country duet hit for David Houston and Tammy Wynette (her first appearance at the top of the country chart). "It's a Cheating Situation," which he penned with Sonny Throckmorton, was a #2 country hit and the Academy of Country Music's Song of the Year in 1979. "He Stopped Loving Her Today," written with Bobby Braddock, became the signature song for one of country music's signature artists, George Jones. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" won the Nashville Songwriters Association, CMA and ACM Song of the Year awards, and it has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Another collaboration with Bobby Braddock, "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" was a #1 country hit for Tammy Wynette in 1968. Putman also wrote significant hits for T. G. Sheppard, Tanya Tucker, T. Graham Brown, and others. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976.

"Blood Red and Goin' Down"

Tanya Tucker1973 #1 country


(written with Bobby Braddock)

Tammy Wynette1968 #1 country, #63 pop

"Do You Wanna Go to Heaven"

(written with Bucky Jones)

T. G. Sheppard1980 #1 country

"Dumb Blonde"

Dolly Parton1967 #24 country

"Green, Green Grass of Home"

Johnny Darrell1965 
Porter Wagoner1965 #4 country
Bobby Bare1965 
Jerry Lee Lewis1965 
Charley Pride1966 
Tom Jones1966 #11 pop
Johnny Cash1968 
Merle Haggard1968 
Joan Baez1969 
Elvis Presley1975 
Kenny Rogers1976 

"He Stopped Loving Her Today"

(written with Bobby Braddock)

NSAI, ACM & CMA Song of the Year

George Jones1980 #1 country

"Hopelessly Yours"

(written with Don Cook, Keith Whitley)

George Jones1986 
John Conlee1989 #67 country
Lee Greenwood & Suzy Bogguss1991 #12 country

"I Meant Every Word He Said"

(written with Joe Chambers, Bucky Jones)

Ricky Van Shelton1990 #2 country

"I Think I Know"

Marion Worth1960 #7 country

"I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again"

(written with Don Cook, Rafe Van Hoy)

Kenny Rogers1978 
T. Graham Brown1986 #3 country

"I'll Be Coming Back for More"

(written with Sterling Whipple)

T. G. Sheppard1980 #1 country

"It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' to Me"

(written with Mike Kosser)

The Kendalls1978 #2 country

"It's a Cheating Situation"

(written with Sonny Throckmorton)

ACM Song of the Year

Moe Bandy1979 #2 country
John Prine & Dolores Keane1999 

"Just for You"

(written with Larry Butler)

Ferlin Husky1967 #4 country

"Made for Lovin' You"

(written with Sonny Throckmorton)

Dan Seals1990 
Doug Stone1993 #6 country

"My Elusive Dreams"

(written with Billy Sherrill)

Curly Putman1967 #41 country
Rusty Draper1967 #70 country
Johnny Darrell1967 #73 country
David Houston & Tammy Wynette1967 #1 country, #89 pop
Charlie Rich1975 #3 country, #49 pop

"Smooth Sailing"

(written with Sonny Throckmorton)

Connie Smith1978 #68 country
Sonny Throckmorton1979 #47 country
T. G. Sheppard1980 #6 country

"The Older the Violin, the Sweeter the Music"

Hank Thompson1974 #8 country

"War Is Hell (On the Home Front Too)"

(written with Bucky Jones, Dan Wilson)

T. G. Sheppard1982 #1 country

"When Can We Do This Again"

(written with Sonny Throckmorton)

T. G. Sheppard1978 #5 country

Curly Putman

Induction Year: 1976