The country music community is mourning the loss of one of its most brilliant songwriters, Curly Putman Jr.
According to a Facebook post from Curly’s friend and hit co-writer, Bobby Braddock, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer passed away in the morning of Oct. 30 after being ill.
Curly was born in 1930 and raised on Putman Mountain in northern Alabama. A Navy veteran, according to Bobby, he was discovered by singer-songwriter Roger Miller. His first big hit as a writer, “The Green, Green Grass of Home,” which you can listen to here, was made famous by Porter Wagoner, but went on to be covered by multiple others, including Bobby Bare, Charley Pride, The Statler Brothers and Elvis Presley. Curly was the sole writer on “The Green, Green Grass of Home, as well as “Dumb Blonde,” the tune responsible for putting Dolly Parton on the charts. However, two of his most recognizable collaborations, George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and Tammy Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” were written with Bobby. In fact, Bobby credits Curly with helping him get into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
A beloved character on Nashville’s Music Row, Curly’s ability to entertain went far beyond writing hit songs. He recorded two of his own albums in the late ’60s and released “My Elusive Dreams” before Tammy Wynette and David Houston released it and took it to the top of the charts. He also possessed an ability to regale listeners with a litany of surprising — and true — stories of his experiences in the music industry. A favorite involved Paul McCartney and his band Wings staying at the Putman farm in Lebanon, Tennessee in the ’70s. The visit inspired McCartney’s song “Junior’s Farm.”
Curly is survived by his wife, Bernice, son Troy and daughter-in-law Beth, grandsons Ian and Ryan and granddaughter Gina. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976.
Our condolences are with the Putman family, and we join the country music community in mourning this great loss.