Paul Kelly & The Messengers

About Paul Kelly & The Messengers

Over the course of his long career as one of Australia’s most treasured singer/songwriters, Paul Kelly has traveled many roads, and his journeys with the Messengers were some of the most special. Born in Adelaide in 1955, Kelly developed his blend of winsome folk and beefier roots rock in Melbourne’s pubs and clubs in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. In 1985, Kelly established a regular band in Sydney with guitarist Steve Connolly, bassist Jon Schofield, keyboardist Peter Bull, and drummer Michael Barclay. The following year saw the release of their debut album, Gossip. Initially a name used for international releases (their original handle being somewhat controversial), Paul Kelly & The Messengers became the preferred moniker as the band earned chart success at home and in the U.S. with songs that combined big, bright melodies with Kelly’s thoughtful and richly textured take on love, frailty, and all the other feelings that make us human. Just as remarkable was the acerbic wit that came to the fore on hits like 1987’s “To Her Door” and “Dumb Things.” Following another triumph with “Treaty”—a stirring 1991 collaboration with the band Yothu Yindi that was the first major hit to be performed in an Aboriginal Australian language— Kelly split up The Messengers and launched a solo career, but the songs they made together remained well-loved on compilations and setlists in the decades to come.

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