Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly

 Darlinghurst, New South Wales, AUS

From very early on in his career, Paul Kelly has been recognised as one of the most significant singer/songwriters in Australia.


Imagine a new visitor to Australia looking to get a flavour of the country and its people. The perfect place to start is with the music of one of the world's great songwriters, the man who has chronicled our country's beauty and scars and desires, as well as the personal insights which know no borders, in an extraordinary song-writing career that now spans more than 30 years.

Since the early eighties, Paul Kelly has issued an enduring and wide ranging body of work with his own bands, written film scores (Lantana and the Cannes 2006 highlight, Jindabyne), and produced albums for and written songs with some of Australia and New Zealand's finest artists. Recent albums include the bluegrass inspired Foggy Highway and the extraordinary double set, Ways & Means, produced by Tchad Blake.

Kelly’s latest album Stolen Apples has received some of the best reviews of his three decade career, and had the third highest chart debut of any of his 25 albums.

In 1997, Kelly released the Songs From The South, a dazzling collection, assembling songs that had already lodged deep in the Australian soundtrack, from ‘Before Too Long’ and ‘From St Kilda To Kings Cross’ to ‘When I First Met Your Ma’, ‘To Her Door’ and ‘How to Make Gravy’.

Now, comes Songs From The South Vol 2, a new 20-track collection that dips into the past 10 years of Kelly's life. Remarkably for a songwriter going from his early 40s to his early 50s, this period has been just as creative and even more adventurous than the first.

At an age when many songwriters struggle to keep the juices flowing, the songs keep pouring from Kelly as he continues to explore fresh musical terrain, from classic albums recorded with his band, The Boon Companions, to acoustic bluegrass (with Uncle Bill on Smoke and the Storm Water Boys on Foggy Highway), the playful collaborative records, Professor Ratbaggy and The Stardust Five and the massive Paul Kelly A-Z concert project, being released online, a letter a month, at Kelly's website.

Evidence that writers of Kelly's talent don't let the fire burn out, the songs on Vol 2 range from the 1998 album Words and Music to last year's Stolen Apples, and confirm that Kelly is still writing songs as powerful as anything he did in his 20s and 30s.

The first release in a series of CD reissues of every Kelly album under the EMI banner, Songs From The South Vol 2 reveals that the flame burns as brightly as ever across the past 10 years.

Songs From The South and Songs From The South Vol 2, available now through EMI.


To Her Door

Written By: Paul Kelly

They got married early, never had much money

Then when he got laid off they really hit the skids

He started up his drinking, then they started fighting
He took it pretty badly, she took both the kids

She said: "I'm not standing by, to watch you slowly die
So watch me walking, out the door"

She said, "Shove it, Jack, I'm walking out the fucking door"

She went to her brother's, got a little bar work

He went to the Buttery, stayed about a year

Then he wrote a letter, said I want to see you

She thought he sounded better, she sent him up the fare

He was riding through the cane in the pouring rain

On Olympic to her door

He came in on a Sunday, every muscle aching

Walking in slow motion like he'd just been hit

Did they have a future? Would he know his children?

Could he make a picture and get them all to fit?
He was shaking in his seat riding through the streets
In a silvertop to her door

Dumb Things

Written By: Paul Kelly

Welcome, strangers, to the show
I’m the one who should be lying low
Saw the knives out, turned my back
Heard the train coming, stayed out on the track
In the middle, in the middle, in the middle of a dream
I lost my shirt, I pawned my rings
I’ve done all the dumb things

Caught the fever, heard the tune
Thought I loved her, hung my heart on the moon
Started howling, made no sense
Thought my friends would rush to my defence
In the middle, in the middle, in the middle of a dream
I lost my shirt, I pawned my rings
I’ve done all the dumb things
I threw my hat into the ring
I’ve done all the dumb things
I melted wax to fix my wings
I’ve done all the dumb things
I threw my hat into the ring
I’ve done all the dumb things
I thought that I just had to sing
I’ve done all the dumb things

God Told Me To

Written By: Paul Kelly

My name is John Johanna, I am misunderstood
Lately I have been accused of grievous murder in cold blood
My mission is most righteous, my cause is true and just
The wicked need chastisement, you know it’s either them or us
God told me to
I did what I had to do
God told me to

All around me empty chatter, the old men wring their hands,
Meanwhile in broad daylight Satan gathers his unholy bands
The mighty strength of angels carries me on my seeking flight
My anger is a hammer – you know not its power or the hour it strikes!
God told me to
I answer not to them or you
[ Paul Kelly Lyrics are found on ]
God told me to

Seven golden candles flaming bring forth the Son of Man
In his mouth a two-edged sword, seven stars shining in his right hand
The beast has eyes before him, the beast has eyes behind
Those not with me are against me, they’re surely gonna feel my holy fire!
God told me to
To thine own self be true
God told me to
God told me to
I’m just doing what I have to do
God told me to

Stolen Apples Taste The Sweetest

Written By: Paul Kelly

Stolen apples taste the sweetest
See them hanging in the pale moonlight
You won’t feel those cuts and grazes
As you reach out for your prize in the night
And pluck it down and take that very first bite

“Don’t tell anyone our secrets”
Said the farmer to his darling wife
“There are some here in the district
Not so happy with their lot in this mean, old life.
Now, sweetheart, won’t you pass me the paring knife”

Stolen apples, plucked down in their prime
Stolen apples, hanging heavy on my mind

Eve called Adam in the garden
“Hey Ad, come over here and look at these, won’t you try some?”
“Oh, no” said Adam “That’s forbidden!”
“Come on now, baby” said Eve, “What could be wrong with just one little one?”
So Adam bit and cried out “That’s the bomb! That’s the bomb!”

Stolen apples taste the sweetest
Stolen apples taste the sweetest


Songs From The South Volume 1 & 2 - 2008

Stolen Apples - 2007

Stardust Five - 2006

Foggy Highway - 2005

Ways and Means - 2004

Nothing But a Dream - 2001

Professor Ratbaggy - 1999

Smoke - 1999

Words and Music - 1998

Songs From the South - Greatest Hits - 1997

Deeper Water - 1995

Wanted Man - 1994

Hidden Things - 1992

Comedy - 1991

So Much Water So Close To Home - 1989

Under the Sun - 1987

Gossip - 1986

Post - 1985