Curly Putman

curlt putman

Curly Putman

(Nov. 20, 1930- )

1993 Inductee (Lifework Award)

Had he only written his best known composition – the classic story song “Green, Green Grass of Home” – Curly Putman would be remembered as one of the creative cornerstones of modern country music.

In addition to that multi-million-selling musical standard, Putman also wrote such enduring country favorites as “My Elusive Dreams” (co-written with fellow Alabama native Billy Sherrill), “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (both co-written with Bobby Braddock).

Born on a mountain that bears his family’s name, the Princeton native struggled for years working as a shoe salesman while waiting for his breakthrough in the music industry.  Once fellow Alabama native Buddy Killen signed him to Nashville’s Tree Publishing Company, Putman became an overnight sensation in 1965 when his first major recording, “Green, Green Grass House,” became a country hit for Jerry Lee Lewis and then a pop smash for one of Lewis’ protégés, Welsh superstar Tom Jones.  The pop single peaked at No. 12 on the American charts but went on to sell some 12 million copies worldwide.  A third version of the song, by Nashville recording artist Porter Wagoner, climbed to No. 4 on the country charts.

“Green, Green Grass of Home” quickly became a popular music standard that transcended Nashville’s country music boundaries.  The song has since been recorded more than 400 times – in virtually every language in the world – by artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Bill Anderson, Eddy Arnold, Burl Ives, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Dean Martin, Bobby Bare, Skitch Henderson, Don Gibson, Jim Nabors, Engelbert Humperdinck, George Jones, Ace Cannon, the Statler Brothers, Frankie Laine, Roy Clark, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, Charley Pride and Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass.

For more than two decades after “Green, Green Grass of Home,” Putman went on to prove that he could create one memorable country standard after another.  David Houston and Tammy Wynette hit No. 1 on the country charts with their 1967 duet, “My Elusive Dreams.” A year later, Putman provided Red Bay native Wynette with one of her signature tunes, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.”  Tanya Tucker topped the country charts in 1973 with Putman’s “Blood Red and Going Down,” while country singer T.G. Sheppard hit the country No. 1 spot twice in 1980 with two of Putman’s songs, “Baby, I’ll Be Coming Back for More” and “Do You Want to Go to Heaven?”

Also in 1980, Putman and fellow Nashville songwriter Bobby Braddock helped revive the career of country legend George Jones with the biggest hit of his career, the honky-tonk tearjerker “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”  The classic composition was named Song of the Year twice by the Country Music Association.  Two years later, Sheppard scored another No. 1 with Putman’s “War Is Hell on the Homefront Too.”

Putman’s long list of Top 10 hits also includes the Kendalls’ “It Don’t Feel Like Sinnin’ to Me,” Ricky Van Shelton’s “I Meant Every Word He Said,” T. Graham Brown’s “I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way,” Moe Bandy’s “It’s a Cheatin’ Situation,” Ferlin Husky’s “Just for You,” the Statler Brothers’ “You Can Have Your Kate and Edith Too,” Doug Stone’s “When Can We Do This Again?,” Hank Thompson’s “Older the Violin, the Sweeter the Music,” Mac Davis’ “Let’s Keep it That Way,” Sheppard’s “When Can We Do This Again?” and hit covers of “My Elusive Dreams” by Charlie Rich and Bobby Vinton.

Putman earned a total of thirty-six BMI awards and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association International Songwriters Hall of Fame.  His hometown of Princeton saluted his musical achievements by naming a ball field in his honor.

Chart Songs as a Songwriter

Song Title Recording Artist Chart* Year

Baby I'll Be Coming Back For More T.G. Sheppard 1 1980

Blood Red And Going Down Tanya Tucker 1 1973

D-I-V-O-R-C-E Tammy Wynette 1 1968

Do You Want To Go To Heaven T.G. Sheppard 1 1980

He Stopped Loving Her Today George Jones 1 1980

My Elusive Dreams David Houston & Tammy Wynette 1 1967

War Is Hell On The Homefront Too T.G. Sheppard 1 1982

I Meant Every Word He Said Richy Van Shelton 2 1990

I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way T. Grahm Brown 3 1986

It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' To Me Kendalls 2 1978

It's A Cheating Situation Moe Bandy 2 1979

My Elusive Dreams Charlie Rich 3 1975

Green Green Grass Of Home Porter Waggoner 4 1965

Just For You Ferlin Husky 4 1968

When Can We Do This Again T.G. Sheppard 5 1978

Song Title Recording Artist Chart* Year

Made For Lovin' You Doug Stone 6 1993

Smooth Sailing T.G. Sheppard 6 1980

Baby You're Something John Conlee 7 1980

I Think I Know Marion Worth 7 1960

My Elusive Dreams Bobby Vinton 7 1970

Older The Violin The Sweeter The Music Hank Thompson 8 1974

Let's Keep It That Way Mac Davis 10 1980

Little Black Book Jimmy Dean 10 1962

Whisper Lacy J. Dalton 10 1981

You Can't Have Your Kate And Edith Too Statler Brothers 10 1967

Thank God She's Mine Freddie Hart 11 1977

Easy Look Charlie Rich 12 1977

Green, Green Grass Of Home Tom Jones 12 1967

Hopelessly Yours Lee Greenwood & Suzi Bogguss 12 1991

What I Had With You John Conlee 12 1981

Ballad of Two Brothers Autry Inman 14 1968

Our House Is Not A Home Lynn Anderson 18 1969

If You Think I Love You Now (I've Just Started) Jody Miller 19 1971

Legend And The Man Conway Twitty 19 1985

High And Dry Joe Sun 20 1978

Sleep Baby Sleep Connie Hall 20 1961

When You're Hot You're Hot Porter Waggoner 21 1969

Right Back Loving You Again Del Reeves 22 1970

Dumb Blond Dolly Parton 24 1967

Ballad Of A Hillbilly Singer Freddy Weller 26 1972

I Promised You The World Ferlin Husky 26 1968

Song Title Recording Artist Chart* Year

I Turn To You George Jones 26 1987

The Bird George Jones 26 1988

In Another Minute Jim Glaser 27 1985

Unbelievable Love Jim Ed Brown 29 1973

Green, Green Grass of Home Skitch Henderson 30 1968

As Long As The Winds Blow Johnny Barrell 30 1966

While I Was Making Love To You Susie Allanson 31 1980

Pleasure's All Mine Dave & Sugar 32 1981

Smooth Sailing Jim Weatherly 32 1979

Three Six Packs Two Arms And A Jukebox Johnny Sea 32 1968

Prison Song Curly Putman 33 1967

Private Del Reeves 33 1967

Make Mine Night Time Bill Anderson 35 1980

That See Me Later Look Bonnie Guitar 36 1969

Let's Keep It That Way Juice Newton 37 1979

You Always Look You Best George Jones 37 1976*Chart position is based on Billboard Magazine Pop, Country, R&B & A/C Charts. Other music industry charts may have shown higher chart positions.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


Claude "Curly" Putman Jr. (born November 20, 1930 in Princeton, Jackson County, Alabama) is an American songwriter, based in Nashville. His biggest success was "Green, Green Grass of Home" (1964, sung by Porter Wagoner), which was covered by Elvis Presley, Johnny Darrell, Gram Parsons, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roberto Leal, Merle Haggard, Bobby Bare, Joe Tex, Nana Mouskouri and, of course, Tom Jones. The Paul McCartney & Wings hit "Junior's Farm" was inspired by their short stay at Putman's farm.

Putman was the son of a sawmill worker, and was raised on Putman Mountain in Alabama. He joined the Navy and spent four years on the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge. Married Bernice Soon in 1956. Tried several jobs in different places in the late 50's and early 60's, inspiring his later hit "My Elusive Dreams". Wrote his first big hit, "Green, Green Grass of Home," when working in Nashville plugging songs for Tree Records.


Selective list of Putman hit songs

"Green, Green Grass of Home" (Putman)

"My Elusive Dreams" (Putman/Billy Sherrill)

"D-I-V-O-R-C-E" (Putman/Bobby Braddock)

"He Stopped Loving Her Today" (Putman/Bobby Braddock)

"Let's Keep It That Way" (Putman/Rafe Vanhoy)

"I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again" (Putman/Rafe Vanhoy/Don Cook)

"Blood Red and Going Down" (Putman)

"Do You Wanna Go To Heaven" (Putman/Bucky Jones)

"Smooth Sailing" (Putman/Sonny Throckmorton)

"Set Me Free" (Putman/Marvin Walters)

"It's a Cheating Situation" (Putman/Sonny Throckmorton)

"It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' To Me" (Putman/Mike Kosser)



1967: Lonesome Country of Curly Putman (ABC)

1969: World of Country Music (ABC)


Year Single Chart Positions

US Country US

1960 "The Prison Song" 23

1967 "My Elusive Dreams" 41 134

"Set Me Free" 67

Offical Website: Curly Putman
More info:
Write 'em Sad - Sing 'em Lonesome, Curly Putman
Green, Green Grass Of Home, Tom JonesTears of Fire - The 25th Anniversary Collection, Tammy WynetteSuper Hits, Charlie RichI Am What I Am, George JonesThe Very Best of T.G. Sheppard, T.G. SheppardThe Kendalls: 20 Greatest Hits, The Kendalls


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