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Paul Kelly
, 2007

by Martin Philbey

type C photograph (frame: 105.0 cm x 130.0 cm depth 2.0 cm)

Paul Kelly AO (b. 1955), singer, songwriter and producer, grew up in Adelaide and made his performing debut in Hobart in 1974. In Melbourne, he and his pub band The Dots made two albums before breaking up in 1982. He recorded Post in Sydney in 1985, but his major break came the following year, by which time his band was known as The Coloured Girls. Their double album Gossip was one of the biggest Australian records of the year. The band made Under the Sun (1987) before touring the US as Paul Kelly and the Messengers. They disbanded in 1991, and from that point Kelly branched into producing and acting as well as writing and performing. Kelly sings with a marked Australian accent and many of his songs refer to specific Australian people and places. Though he has written most of his long and poetic songlist alone, over the course of his nineteen albums has also collaborated brilliantly, particularly with indigenous performers such as Kev Carmody, Christine Anu and Yothu Yindi. His self-described 'mongrel memoir', How to Make Gravy, was released in 2010.

Kelly has written many songs about Melbourne, where Martin Philbey photographed him at Flinders Street Station.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2008
Accession number: 2008.51