Curly Putman—the writer or co-writer of hits including “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Green, Green Grass of Home,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” and “My Elusive Dreams”—surveys his catalog of country classics during this live interview, held March 28, 2009, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Part of the Museum’s quarterly series Poets and Prophets, which pays tribute to songwriters who have made a significant contribution to country music, the sold-out program features a nearly two-hour interview with Putman, augmented by live performances, video and audio clips, scores of personal and professional photos, and a letter from George Jones to commemorate the occasion.
A television segment from the mid-1990s featuring Tammy Wynette conversing with Putman and frequent co-writer Bobby Braddock opens the program.
Born Claude Putman Jr. on November 20, 1930, in Princeton, Alabama, the songwriter was raised near Putman Mountain, named after his family. After performing around Huntsville, Alabama, he moved to Nashville in 1964 and soon signed with Tree Publishing Company, after fellow songwriter Roger Miller introduced him to Buddy Killen, who ran Tree with partner Jack Stapp. Killen also hired Putman as a song plugger, which meant he visited with producers, artists, and record executives to introduce them to new songs written by Tree’s staff of writers.
A year after signing with Tree, Putman finished “Green, Green Grass of Home,” which has been recorded more than 700 times.
During the interview, Putman speaks of the six-week period in 1974 when Paul McCartney and his band Wings stayed at Putman’s family farm in Wilson County. The stay inspired the Paul McCartney and Wings hit “Junior’s Farm.”
Besides tenacity, Putman describes a trait that helped gain him a reputation as a writer of classic country songs: “If you have a song that you can feel, it inspires you,” he says. “A lot of times you don’t feel it, and you write a commercial type of song. The better ones come when you really feel it.”
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