From Post staff reports
Lebanon songwriter Curly Putman said Monday he was putting together for himself a personal CD of songs he had written for and were sung or recorded by country music legend George Jones, who died last week.
Off-hand, Putman first said he wasn't sure what that number was and he'd have to do some research but by yesterday he had determined that he had written and passed along at least some 15 songs to Jones.
First, of course, on that list, would have to be the all-time favorite, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," a song listed by many as the greatest country song ever written. Putman co-wrote the song with Bobby Braddock.
The song about a man who loved his wife until he drew his last breath was recorded by Jones in 1980. It was, as proclaimed by Jones and others, a needed positive in his long country music career. It literally revived his career he and others said. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" was Jones’ first number one hit at the time in more than six years.
As a result of recording the ballad, Jones earned the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Performer in 1980 and the Academy of Country Music awarded the song Single of the Year and Song of the Year. The song also became the Country Music Association's Song of the Year in both 1980 and 1981.
Jones, known to some as “the Possum,” was appreciative of the song and sent a letter to Putman which hangs in his den.
The letter reads: “There is no doubt that my favorite Curly Putman song has to be ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today.’ I will always be grateful to you and Bobby Braddock for adding the rendition for me after a year or more of my trying to record that song and thinking it needed that little something extra to make it complete. ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ was the song I always wished I would have written. It became a monster hit, won lots of awards and is my signature song. Thank you for that.”
Putman, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, once said, "I've always thought if you can cover love, hopeless situations, happiness and death you can touch people's souls! That makes for a great country song!" He certainly managed to cover all those topics in "He Stopped Loving Her Today."
While "He Stopped Loving Her Today" would have to be viewed as one of his most successful songs, Putman has had many more in his storied career. One of his most recorded songs and viewed as a country music standard still today is "Green, Green Grass of Home." Performers who have recorded "Green Grass" as Putman and others in the business like to call the song have included Porter Wagoner, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Darrell, Gram Parsons, Joan Baez, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Grateful Dead, Johnny Cash, Roberto Leal, Merle Haggard, Bobby Bare, Joe Tex, Nana Mouskouri, and Tom Jones.
Country singer/songwriter and longtime Wilson County resident Charlie Daniels said on The Marquee Blog at cnn.com, "Rest in peace George Jones. There will never be another one like you and we'll miss you a bunch buddy."
"I am so saddened by the news of George Jones's passing,” said country singer/songwriter and Mt. Juliet resident Tracy Lawrence. “He was a wonderful friend and I will always treasure the times we had together. My thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and the entire family. George left a tremendous mark on Country music and inspired us all. I will miss him. God Bless you George."
Mr. Jones’ funeral will take place on Thursday, May 2, at The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, starting at 10 a.m. and will be open to the public.
"George would have wanted his fans and friends everywhere to be able to come and pay their respects along with his family," said Kirt Webster, Mr. Jones’ publicist.
"Thanks to George’s friends, fans, and loved ones for the outpouring of love at this terrible time," said Nancy Jones, his wife. "I love you all."
A private visitation for family, friends, and fellow performers will take place on Wednesday evening.
“The Voice” of Country Music fell silent with the passing of the iconic legend in Nashville at the age of 81. Long recognized as country music’s most indescribable voice by not only the fans, but critics in all genres, the music world continues to mourn the loss of its’ finest stylist, who was considered the greatest living country singer.
A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1956, Mr. Jones achieved perhaps his greatest personal honor when he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992.
More than 35 years ago, as noted in his discography, Mr. Jones recorded “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” a song that posed the question of whether music newcomers would come along that could possibly walk in the steps of the progenitors and giants of country music. In light of the loss of this legendary voice, the question has never seemed more poignant.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to the Grand Ole Opry trust fund at Opry Trust Fund, 2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN 37214, or to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum at http://store.countrymusichalloffame.com/categories/Donate/