b. Claude Putman Jnr., 20 November 1930, Princeton, Alabama, USA. Putman is one of country music’s greatest songwriters. The son of a saw mill worker, he completed his education and spent four years in the US Navy, before he himself worked in a saw mill. After completing a commercial course, he became a shoe salesman. He wrote songs and played steel guitar with various bands and in 1960, recording for the small Cherokee label, he scored a number 23, country chart hit, with his recording of ‘The Prison Song’. In 1963, he relocated to Nashville, where, initially, he became a staff writer with Tree Publishing. In 1965, Porter Wagoner’s recording of Putman’s ‘Green Green Grass Of Home’ went to number 4 in the country charts. In 1966, two more of Putman’s songs became country hits. ‘As Long As The Wind Blows’ became Johnny Darrell’s first hit and ‘The Last Laugh’ was successfully recorded by Jim Ed Brown. In 1967, Putman’s own recording of ‘My Elusive Dreams’, a song he co-wrote with Billy Sherrill, reached number 41 in the country and crossed over to number 134 in the pop charts. However, his own success was easily surpassed by the duet recording of David Houston and Tammy Wynette, which topped the country and reached number 89 in the pop charts. Apart from these versions, it was also charted the same year by Rusty Draper (number 70) and Johnny Darrell (number 73). (It also became a hit for Bobby Vinton (Top 30, 1970) and Charlie Rich (Top 3, 1975). Putman also charted ‘Set Me Free’ in 1967, but never gained another chart entry as a singer. (The song became Rich’s first country hit the following year and a hit for Ray Price in 1969). In 1967, Tom Jones’ recording of ‘Green Green Grass Of Home’, a US number 11 pop hit and a seven week number 1 in the UK pop charts, became a million seller. The same year Dolly Parton charted ‘Dumb Blonde’, Del Reeves ‘The Private’, the Statler Brothers ‘You Can’t Have Your Kate And Edith Too’ and Bobby Wright ‘That See Me Later Look’. In 1968, ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E’., co-wrote with Bobby Braddock proved a number 1 for Tammy Wynette. In 1975, her recording became a number 12 UK pop hit and but ran into a parody by Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, with a start that went ‘Our little dog is six years old and he’s as smart as any damn kid. But when you mention the V.E.T., he damn near flips his lid’, which went all the way to number 1. In the US, Ferlin Husky scored a number 4 hit with ‘Just For You’. Through the 70s, the hit songs continued, Tanya Tucker scored a number 1, with ‘Blood Red And Goin’ Down’ and Moe Bandy took the Putman and Sonny Throckmorton’s ‘It’s A Cheating Situation’ to number 2, and the Academy of Country Music named the latter their 1979 Song of the Year. In 1980 George Jones’ recording of Putman and Braddock’s ‘He Stopped Loving her Today’ became a number 1. The song was subsequently voted CMA Single Of The Year (1980), Song Of The Year (1980 and 1981) and led to Jones also being voted CMA Male Vocalist of the Year for both 1980 and 1981. In the 90s, Putman’s successes continued with new country acts gaining chart hits with his songs. They include Sawyer Brown (‘Cafe On The Corner’), Josh Logan and Aaron Tippin (‘I Was Born With A Broken Heart’), Michael White (‘She Likes To Dance’) and Pirates Of The Mississippi (‘A Street Man Named Desire’). Putman was elected into the Nashville Songwriters Association, International Hall Of Fame, in 1976. He was never a prolific recording artist but he did record two albums which mainly included his own songs.