Almanac Music: Paul Kelly’s 50 Best Songs

 

Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly (pic: Wikicommons)

 

 

Troubadour, singer, musician, legend. Paul Kelly. How many times have I seen him perform live? I couldn’t begin to tell you. From the Botanical Gardens to the Music Bowl, to Hamer Hall, to Festival Hall, I have lost count. I have seen him play solo, with his new band, with bluegrass bands, with Neil Finn, and with his old band The Messengers (particularly at a memorable gig in Bendigo three decades ago). As a teenager, I even saw him in his previous incarnation with The Dots. He has been the soundtrack of my adult life. My love of his music has, pleasingly, been passed on to my three sons, who have all also seen him live on multiple occasions.

 

Like him or not, his output is undeniable, and his back-catalogue is now enormous. Recently, I was pondering which of his tunes were my favourites. So I made a list of his best fifty, just to save you the trouble.

 

  1. Forty miles to Saturday night (1987)

A lightweight, yet rollicking tune about a guy on an outback station preparing for a big Saturday night. The gorgeous piano intro gives way to hot and dusty imagery; Australian references abound, including “Danny brings the Bedford round”. And what about ‘Joanne from Miner’s Creek’? Well, “She lives out on a station/ And she works on my imagination”.

 

  1. Don’t let a good thing go (2014, co-writer Billy Miller)

I enjoyed “The Merri Soul Sessions” and really, one could not help but marvel at the variety of talented singers and musicians assembled for the project. This foot-tapper is one of the highlights. A love song given perfect weight by the soulful voice of Dan Sultan, whose interplay with the female backing vocals adds to the groove.

 

  1. Firewood and candles (2017)

“Life Is Fine” was Kelly’s first solo release of original material in five years. This track was a definite return to form and had many of the hallmarks of his earlier work, including the stirring guitar riff and touch of keyboards. In the latter part of his career, Kelly’s crack band has included guitarist Ash Naylor, bassist Bill McDonald, pianist Cameron Bruce, drummer Dan Luscombe, as well as his nephew Dan Kelly on guitar. A wonderful addition has been the Bull sisters and their incomparable backing vocals, which are to the fore on this track.

 

  1. Somebody’s forgetting somebody (somebody’s letting somebody down) (1985)

A beautiful, country-tinged track, with Kelly in a wistful and reflective mood. In its own way it is as catchy a tune as he has written. Graham Lee’s pedal steel and Chris Wilson’s harmonica are perfect country-soul accompaniments. And I like the nod to Elvis in the first line: “Are you lonesome tonight?…”

 

  1. Night after night (1999, co-writer Gerry Hale)

One of the highlights of the album “Smoke”, this is a classic bluegrass track with typical Kelly lyrics of pining for a lost love: “But I still miss you/Whenever I turn out the light/I still miss you/Night after night after night after night”.Uncle Bill sound like they are having a rollicking good time, and I can confirm that on the night I saw them they definitely were.   

 

  1. Finally something good (2017)

The lyrics leave a little to be desired, but the intent is obvious nonetheless: a man has finally found love. Vika and Linda Bull add the glorious finishing touches to this simple piano-based tune.

 

  1. God’s Hotel (1994, co-writer Nick Cave)

“Wanted Man” was released to mixed reviews and I admit that, on first listen, I was slightly unenthused. Over time, I have come to appreciate it more, but it certainly is not at the top of my Kelly album list. For this track PK took Cave’s lyrics, at the latter’s behest, and constructed a downbeat tune which – lyric-wise – is a throwback to old gospel hymns. The chords, of course, firmly belong to the Hoodoo Gurus’ “Bittersweet”.

 

  1. If I could start today again (2001)

With tenderness in his voice, this was an interesting choice for the opener of the “…nothing but a dream” album, given just how mellow and the track is. One of the constant themes throughout Kelly’s work is regret, and this is an excellent example, with the narrator wishing he could turn back time to right his wrongs: “I know my prayer’s in vain / But for a second, I’ll pretend / That I can start today again”. Kelly referred to this track as a “miracle” and “the most precise song I’ve written”.

 

  1. God told me to (2007)

Told from the point a view of John Johanna, a man on trial for murder, who explains that his actions were a result of God telling him what to do, this track strikes an excellent groove, despite the morbid subject matter. Spiritual and biblical imagery are another of the recurring themes in Kelly’s lyrics.

 

  1. Every day my mother’s voice (2019)

How many of Kelly’s songs have grown on me over time? Heaps. And this is another, a duet with the Dan Sultan that strikes a beautifully tender note. The band’s restraint is itself a thing of beauty. It was criminally under-appreciated at the time of its release.

 

  1. For the ages (2012, co-writer Dan Kelly)

Another basically structured love song whose genius rests in its sheer simplicity. The light touches of the band and backing vocalists are again noteworthy.

 

  1. No you (1989)

For a long time after the release of “So much water…”, this was my favourite Paul Kelly track. The lyrics tell of a man going through the motions while receiving constant reminders that his lover has departed. The song commences slowly enough, but The Messengers (especially Michael Barclay’s drums) relentlessly and magnificently increase the tempo, building the song onto the pyre of a blistering Steve Connolly guitar solo which just about steals the show. This is a rare Kelly song to be shouted like no-one is listening to you.

 

  1. Dumb things (1987)

One of Paul Kelly’s most well-known songs, understandably this is a regular in his live sets, and a rocking sing-along. The harmonica adds to the bouncy feel. There are hints of regret and introspection in the lyrics, but overall, you get the feeling he is merely shrugging his shoulders and preparing to do those dumbs things all over again.

 

  1. Stories of me (1986)

“Ever since you said good-bye / I’ve had a reputation”. This opening line sets the scene for a song about the days after the nights before; a man listening “bitterly” to stories of his life spiralling out of control following a relationship break-up. Lyrically, this was a regular theme in early Kelly songs.

 

  1. Gathering storm (1993, co-writer Jex Saarelaht)

Paul Kelly wrote with the Bull sisters’ piano player, when he was producing their first album in 1993. Unfortunately, they could not make the song work, so Kelly kept it for himself. The most memorable version is the one recorded on “Smoke”, with the boys from Uncle Bill supplying lovely harmonies. Says Kelly of the song “sometimes I sing it at the end of an encore to send people home with a sweet melancholy feeling”.

 

  1. Untouchable (1987)

At just two minutes and four seconds long, this is classic Kelly and the Coloured Girls, showcasing simple lovelorn lyrics, superb musicianship, peerless harmonies, and one of my favourite Steve Connolly guitar breaks. Why string a song out for five minutes when two minutes of perfection will do?   

 

  1. Most wanted man in the world (1989)

This is nothing less than a beautiful love song, the lyrics deeply appreciative of how good his lover makes him feel, with a gorgeous arrangement. Of course, music-wise, it is wonderfully played by The Messengers.

 

  1. A bastard like me (2018)

This is a brief and beautiful tribute to the late indigenous activist Charlie Perkins. Said Kelly: “It’s based on the life of Charles Perkins, a man of Arrernte, Kalkadoon and Irish heritage who was at the forefront of the struggle for justice for his people”. The track’s title is a reference to Perkins’ autobiography, and is the best song on the album “Nature”. To me, the song plays out as poetry set to music.

 

  1. Smells like rain (2014, co-writers Kev Carmody & Dan Sultan)

If not a constant theme, the imagery of “rain” and “summer” do get a recurring mention in Paul Kelly’s lyrics. Beautifully interpreted by Linda Bull at her sultry best, this bluesy number was the perfect opening track on “The Merri Soul Sessions”.

 

  1. (Beggar on the) Street of love (1989)

First popularized by Jenny Morris, this track is simple in its structure and its message. However, I much prefer the pared-back ,live version on “Hidden Things” which is enhanced by the subtle backing vocals of The Messengers and Weddings Parties Anything, recorded in a Perth radio station.

 

  1. Foggy highway (1994)

First covered by Renee Geyer on her “Difficult Woman” album (half of which was written by Kelly), this track was given new life by Kelly and the Stormwater Boys on the second of his bluegrass albums. Of his decision to record the track, Kelly said in How To Make Gravy: “I’d been unsure of the song until (Geyer) revealed it to me, laying it open as a surgeon does a patient on the operating table”.

 

  1. Laughing boy (1987)

A somewhat solemn tribute to the Irish poet Brendan Behan, I am not sure if Kelly has ever recorded this track. He gave it to Weddings Parties Anything, with whom Kelly and the Messengers often toured in the 80s. I was a huge Weddo’s fan back in the day and I was initially unaware it was a Kelly original. On WPA’s album “Roaring Days”, it was brilliantly presented as a duet by Mick Thomas and Dave Steel.        

 

  1. Randwick bells (1986)

Many of Kelly’s songs fall into what I would call the suggestive category, and this track is a prime example. This was an early favourite of mine, awash with images of lazy Saturdays, sex, and nothing much to do but lay in bed. Chris Coyne’s sax adds perfectly to the lazy atmospherics.

 

  1. Our sunshine (1999, co-writer Mick Thomas)

Based on the Robert Drewe book of the same name (which I loved), this is the rollicking opener to “Smoke”. It is a stirring tale of the bushranger Ned Kelly and is an excellent song to sing along to. So much so that it was a personal and family favourite of ours, accompanying us on road trips. It is another Kelly track about which I wrote a stereo story

 

 

  1. Every f*cking city (2000)

The tale of a man processing the breakdown of a relationship abroad, his initial efforts to win her back, and the subsequent trials and tribulations of a wearying jaunt through Europe. It has a lightness, but is a superb showcase of Kelly’s ability to weave a tale within the confines of a four-minute song.

 

  1. Love never runs on time (1994)

I love the harmonica in this track, the Bull sisters’ backing vocals, and the hook “I never heard a love song yet/ that I could call yours and mine”. The brilliance of the story is that is both a love song and a road song, set to an earworm of a melody.

 

  1. Don’t stand so close to the window

He is partial to a waltz is Paul. This cheeky tune falls somewhere in the same area as “Randwick Bells”, “Just like animals” and “You can put your shoes under my bed”, but the subject matter here is subtly illicit and more clandestine than those other three tracks.

 

  1. Special treatment (1992)

Paul Kelly has a long and rich history of promoting indigenous issues. He co-produced (with Steve Connolly) Archie Roach’s seminal “Charcoal Lane” in 1992, co-wrote Yothu Yindi’s barnstorming “Treaty” (1991), and he has regularly collaborated with Kev Carmody, Dan Sultan and a host of indigenous artists. As far back as “Maralinga (Rainy Land)” he was talking about indigenous concerns. This has continued throughout his career. The words “special treatment” are, of course, ironic in the context of this song, which is in turns tragic, sad, and beautiful. It is all intelligently related by Kelly. This song, and the story behind it, should be taught in primary schools in this country.

 

  1. To her door (1987)

This is probably Paul Kelly’s best-known song. Certainly, the introductory chords would be familiar to anyone who listens to commercial radio. At its core is a story with plenty of heart and tenderness accompanied by a bouncy if simple guitar riff. The positive themes of reconciliation and redemption are all wrapped up in a melody with which you cannot but help sing along.

 

  1. Teach me tonight

Clever, sexy, suggestive, wistful, brief. The lyrics say just enough to allow listeners to draw their own conclusions. Again, the theme perfectly and magically fits its bluegrass rendering on “Smoke”.   

  

  1. Other people’s houses (1992)

I personally believe this engaging story is one of the greatest examples of Kelly’s abilities to narrate a tale. I have always regarded this tune as the companion piece to “Deeper water”. Unfortunately, it is virtually an unknown footnote in his canon, but tragics such as me know better.

 

  1. They thought I was asleep (2005)

A tender story told from the point of view of a child – in the back seat of the family car – who wakes from his slumber to hear his parents talking and his mother crying. The melody is subtly beautiful, fleshed out by the harmonica, and Kelly’s storytelling ability (the lyrics are based on childhood remembrances of road trips) shines through.

 

  1. Sweet guy (1989)

“Sweet guy” was the first song Kelly wrote from a woman’s point of view, and it brought into sharp focus the issue of domestic violence, which was unusual for Australian popular music in the late 80s. He was initially reluctant to sing it himself. But add a “killer riff” from Steve Connolly and it quickly became a crowd favourite.

 

  1. Before too long (1986)

This is the song that started it all for me. Although I knew of Paul Kelly, when I saw this film-clip on “Sounds”, it really got its hooks into me – and the rest is history. I wrote a Stereo Story about my relationship with the track and have subsequently performed the story live many times with the Stereo Stories Band. As such, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

 

 

 

  1. You can put your shoes under my bed (1985)

Another catchy Kelly love song awash with suggestion. Peter Bull’s piano is the perfect partner to Kelly’s sparse vocals. Again, Coyne’s saxophone is a highlight.

 

  1. Until death do them part (1992)

It is not for me to speculate about Paul Kelly’s private life but, yes, there is a certain irony about him talking about the sanctity of the wedding vow. The solemnity of the lyrics is striking. I first heard this on “Live, May 1992”, an excellent live record which features just Kelly, his voice, and his guitar.

 

  1. Everything’s turning to white (1989)

At the time of the release of the “So much water…” album, I had already read and enjoyed a few Raymond Carver books. So I was pleasantly surprised that Paul Kelly had chosen to interpret a Carver short story with which I was familiar. Like “Sweet Guy”, this is another story told with a woman’s voice; the lyrics poignant, devastating, and beautiful. The overarching theme – of Carver’s story, of Kelly’s song, and of the later Ray Lawrence film Jindabyne – is morality, and the choices we make. There is even greater resonance in the live version on “Live, May 1992”.

 

  1. Taught by experts (1992)

There is a simple cleverness in the lyrics of this tune that makes you marvel in Kelly’s song-writing brilliance. There is a sharpness in the concise bluegrass version with Uncle Bill which gets me every time.

 

  1. When I first met your ma (1992)

The Coloured Girls/Messengers were an excellent band, and I was disappointed when Kelly decided to disband them and head off on a solo path. Basically, “Hidden Things” was the full-stop to the era which started with “Post”. In this atmospheric track, Kelly tenderly reflects on the meeting and courting of his first wife Hilary, for the benefit of their son. Melbourne references abound, and the chorus “Love like a bird flies away”, signposts the relationship’s end.  

 

  1. Adelaide (1985)

Kelly’s partly autobiographical tribute to the city in which he was raised references incidents in his childhood, including the passing of his father. The sweet “Do-do-do-do” in the chorus harmonies belie the lyrics’ gravity. Another wonderful pop tune, this has always been a favourite of mine.

 

  1. Rally round the drum (1992, co-writer Archie Roach)

“Like my brother before me/ I’m a tent boxing man”. So goes the first line, and immediately we are swept into a tale focusing on the treatment of the indigenous people in this country. This is truly magnificent story-telling by Roach and Kelly, and they team up for a spine-tingling down-tempo version on the former’s 2019 album “Tell me why”. Listen to Archie’s spoken words at the end. Sensational.

 

  1. You can’t take it with you (1989)

A man considers his mortality and issues a warning to everyone that this life is finite. I just love the way the guitar kicks in after the first line is sung unaccompanied, and then The Messengers join in after the first verse. A beautiful pop song, with a much deeper meaning than most, I recall singing this at the top of my lungs at a sparsely attended gig in Bendigo.

 

  1. Leaps and bounds (1986, co-writer Chris Langman)

I once heard Paul Kelly say, in a radio interview, that initially he was not a huge fan of “Leaps and bounds”. So much so that he disliked playing it live. But of course, for years now it has been one of his most popular songs. It is the perfect pop song, with the lyrics referencing Melbourne landmarks, the harmonies of The Coloured Girls, and Steve Connolly’s jangling guitar and memorable solo washing through it. Not to mention the film-clip, filmed atop of those famous Richmond silos. Said Kelly: “It’s a proven performer, comes into its own around finals time. Not bad for a song about nothing.” It is only 3 minutes and 25 seconds long, but it is truly timeless.

 

  1. I can’t believe we were married (1991)

The jauntiness of the song (both on “Comedy” and later on “Smoke”) belies the sad reality of the lyrics. Its subject matter is unique – the evocation of a man reflecting on his former marriage, and the necessary but very different relationship he now experiences with his ex-wife. It is singable, catchy, dripping with wryness – not many Australian artists can capture these traits in a song like Paul Kelly.

 

  1. Careless (1989)

It is really saying something that I regard this as the best song on “So much water…”. The beguiling guitar intro gives way to lyrics which pique your interest, Kelly posing a number of random questions before admitting that he has been careless and “lost his tenderness”. Musically, the Messengers are at the top of their game, but understated enough to allow those lyrics, and drummer Michael Barclay’s superb harmony, just enough room to breathe. Kelly regularly includes this tune in his live sets to this day.

 

  1. From St. Kilda to King’s Cross (1985)

This was the track that marked the transition from the first period of Kelly’s career (with the Dots) to his more critically – and later, commercially – successful second coming. In the book “How to Make Gravy”, Kelly describes how he wrote this song on the white grand piano in Don Walker’s flat, which he had bunked in when he arrived in Sydney, homeless and broke. This is surprising, given it is such a “guitar” song. Says Kelly of writing it: “The day it came I couldn’t stop humming it and by sunset a set of words was attached. When Don came home, I said, ‘Can I play you something?’ He listened and said, ‘You’ve got your own thing now.’” I marvel at Don’s prescience! One of my disappointments is that I have never seen Paul Kelly play this tune live, as he rarely includes it in his sets.

 

  1. How to make gravy (1996)

I must confess that initially I was not so fond of “Gravy”. But it has grown on me over the years, in no small way because I have seen Kelly perform it live so many times. It is the story of Joe, on the phone from prison, apologising to his brother Dan for the circumstances which will see Joe miss the family Christmas get-together. It is a story of regret and lamentation (yet again), family, belonging, and coming together. All wrapped up in reflection. It is also the perfect example of Kelly’s cross-generational appeal, which was bolstered by the education department adding his lyrics to the secondary school curriculum in the early 2000’s.

 

  1. Look so fine, feel so low (1985, co-writer Maurice Frawley)

This is my all-time favourite Paul Kelly song. I love that in realising its quality, he chose to re-record this song for “Gossip” (after it appeared on “Post”). I love the hook of the guitar intro. I love the jangly Byrds-like guitar washing through it. I love the backing vocals. I love the dichotomy of looking fine but feeling low being played out in the lyrics. I love that Kelly still regularly plays this track live. And I love the fact that it is also my eldest son’s favourite Kelly tune.

 

  1. Deeper water (1995, co-writer Randy Jacobs)

This superb narrative, of a boy’s journey into adulthood, and the milestones along the way, is possibly the greatest example of Paul Kelly’s peerless story-weaving ability. Solemn, sad, and profound, “Deeper water” grabs you by the scruff of the neck. And if you have not already succumbed, at the 1-minute mark – when band kicks in – you will then surely surrender to the story.       

 

  1. From little things big things grow (1991, co-writer Kev Carmody)

Written around a campfire with the indigenous singer-songwriter Kev Carmody, this epic tale of Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji strike, and the broader issue of the indigenous land-rights struggle, is now much more than a song. It is an anthem, a hymn, a message of resilience and hope that there will be better days ahead. This iconic track, with its simple circular chord structure (C, Am, Em, G), has grown in importance over the decades, been covered multiple times, and carries enormous weight. It is now instantly recognisable, and is surely one of the all-time great Australian songs.

 

The appreciation of art, music, literature, is – by its very nature – subjective. We all have a differing opinion, even those of us whose opinions are built along similar lines. Indeed, tomorrow my own opinion may be completely different.

 

But nonetheless, this is a mighty list.

 

 

The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE

 

 

To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

 

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.

One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE.

Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

Comments

  1. Epic Smokie. Love the detail and the vision here. I have to confess, and this isn’t an indictment on your taste but rather an indication of Kelly’s songmaking prowess, that my favourite PK song isn’t on the list: ‘The Oldest Story in the Book’, closely followed by ‘Love never runs on time’ (which you have at no. 25).

  2. Great stuff Smokie. I reckon number 17 may have also started it for me.

    I saw Paul Kelly and the Dots support Stray Cats @ Dallas Brook hall in late 1981; not impressed. Five years later different band, different music, i was won over.

    50(a): Deportees

    50(b) Pasture Of Plenty.

    Paul Kelly singing Woodie Guthrie is good stuff.

    Glen!

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’m not a Kelly tragic, but I was glad that Other People’s Houses bobbed up here Smokie.

    Well played.

  4. Tony Taylor says

    I must be the only Australian who doesn’t like any of PK’s work. Not sure why I don’t. I just don’t.

  5. Brilliant Smokie. Tough call to rank these, especially the top ten. I’d put Deeper Water at one, largely on how Kelly uses detail to tell the larger stories, particularly his focus on hands and arms in each verse. And, yes, when the band kicks in. It’s soaring and majestic.

  6. Grand idea, Smokie. Beautifully executed.
    Howabout that – that you can nominate not your top 10 – but your Top 50 songs. And still others favour songs not included on your list. Seems a strong measure of the songs from this man.
    I will not quibble with any of the above.
    But I also humbly lay this here – with affection and arresting memory (https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/almanac-music-dont-start-me-talking-by-paul-kelly-a-story-by-david-wilson/).
    Well played.

  7. Warren Tapner says

    Thanks for this, Smokie.
    Lists of any kind are always subjective, but I’m a sucker for them, so here’s a few thoughts.
    “Anastasia Changes Her Mind” would rate top 20 for me – replacing “Adelaide” and its excessively extended chorus. “A Difficult Woman” must be be there too.
    I absolutely agree with your summation of “Rally Round The Drum,” which should always be followed by “Charcoal Lane” to flesh out the narrative.
    Lastly, at the risk of being labelled a heretic – I reckon Jimmy Little’s version of “Randwick Bells” is superior.

  8. Kevin Densley says

    This is an interesting and encyclopedic list, Smokie – even if I’m not a big Paul Kelly fan (though I do like a small group of his songs quite a bit).

  9. A might list indeed, Mr Dawson. Serious dedication to the cause. Like Swish, very pleased to see “Other People’s Houses” rate a mention. How many people write songs about people who clean other people’s houses?

  10. Thanks for your comments, all. Greatly appreciated.

    If you don’t like Paul Kelly, that is fine. It would be a boringly vanilla old world if we all liked the same music.

  11. Comprehensive Smokie!
    Loved him the 80’s. For some reason I recall the signage in Brunswick street for him as the Dots….. maybe at the Troubadour and for first time live at a North Fitzroy pub in his early days with a handful of patrons present ( I can picture the pub, but I cannot remember which pub it was, and or if it is still there..Maybe up around Scotchmer street).Things changed after that and it was always to packed houses. I miss those days.
    Best seen live.

  12. Hey Smokie, your PK piece has really piqued my interest. Here’s a few thoughts, including the couple of songs I would include (of course!). The other more reflective thoughts are based on trying to locate Paul Kelly in the Tower of Song.

    Songs I’d include. (I think your list is really good and captures his depth, so these just happen to be my lean): Billy Baxter, Wintercoat, Josephina and So Blue. Mostly, So Blue!

    Interestingly 5 of your top 10 are co-writes. I might be reading too much into this but I link that to Steve Connolly’s remarkable influence on Kelly’s sound. No period has come close in his career, in my opinion, than the time Connelly was in his band. Especially the melodic influence. My point being, Kelly has needed more assistance than other comparable singer songwriters.

    Which leads me to the two bigger reflective points. First, does PK have 50 great songs? I’m not convinced. He might have about 25 great songs and that is damned impressive. However, being Australian he is a big talent in a small pool. He gets compared to Springsteen and God forbid, Dylan! He is closer to Joe Henry. Which is still impressive. I reckon Billy Bragg has a greater, more resounding setlist. And Billy Bragg aint in the UKs top 20 artists.

    I think we place too much weight on the shoulders of Paul Kelly and I suspect many don’t quite buy the sell. Hence the reaction from some to your piece. This is a pity re Kelly. Because he has some terrific songs. Songs like Don’t Stand So Close to the Window for example.

    In music terms Kelly is a decent minor artist but in the Australian lens he considered much more.

    Cheers

  13. Warren Tapner says

    ‘Does Paul Kelly have 50 great songs?”
    As always, that depends on who you ask.
    I would say no – but life would be so much poorer without my 20 or so PK favourites.

  14. Warren Payne says

    Interested in your Top 50 Midnight Oil songs Smoke. Something for you to do during lockdown.

  15. Excellent Smoke. Brilliant how music affects people differently. Deeper Water would get my vote because it conjures up a lot of memories of my old man who used to take us out past the breakers as we clung to his shoulders. His shoulders were always sun burnt but he never seemed to worry?

    Might do this exercise with Neil Young tracks!

  16. Keiran Croker says

    Thanks Smokie, great list. You have most of my favs up high … Gravy, Deeper Water, Careless to name a few. I went to his A to Z concerts back in the day so have been exposed to some of his rarities including songs written for others, or film or tv, however I did not know that he wrote Laughing Boy for the Weddoes!
    I went to his Gravy gig at Myer Music Bowl in 2019 and he does a great set these days with a mix of old and new. Fair to say though that he will miss something that you wanted to hear.

  17. Luke Reynolds says

    Very well done Smokie. A huge task to compile this, you’ve executed it perfectly.

    I’m a Paul Kelly fan, though he’s in the mid range of my favourites. I can’t fault your top 5.

    PK’s 2017 album “Life Is Fine” is as good an album as any he has released for mine. An artist re-inventing himself.

    Did the Shane Warne song get close to the top 50?

Leave a Comment

*