It’s fair to say Paul Kelly is an icon of the Australian music scene. (He has been inducted into the ARIA hall of fame in 1997 and received an Order of Australia in 2017.) To date, he has been actively playing music since the mid 1970s, he has toured with the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and there doesn’t seem to be a ‘used by date’ on when he will stop making music. It’s not surprising that across a career spanning four decades, he has touched on subjects about the mundane life of Australians to songs about the plight of Indigenous Australians and their struggle for land rights and reconciliation. With his seemingly relentlessly pursuit to enlighten us with a whole range of perspectives and experiences, his songs touch a nerve no matter what our standing is in life. That said, I’m always reminded of his genius in particular when I hear many of his signature songs like Before Too Long, Dumb Things, From Little Things Big Things Grow and Leaps And Bounds, all quirky catchy gems.
For this series I’ve gone back through his discography and selected a song about young love and reconciliation. On his 1987 single To Her Door, from the album Under The Sun, Kelly touches on social issues like alcoholism and its spiralling effects. It is a beautiful country-rock tinged ballad about a married couple’s relationship and how it all “hit(s) the skids”. The song in essence is really only a snapshot of the young couple’s struggle but it is easy to fill in the details through our own mind what is happening. To Her Door is also both stark and beautiful as we intently listen to the song as it propels us towards what seems like the couple’s reconciliation and renewed hope of a life together. “She thought he sounded better, she sent him the fare/ He riding through the cane in the pouring rain/ On Olympic to her door”.
Interestingly, in the final verse, the song stops short of an entirely happy ending. It’s cleverly left open to interpretation to reflect the uncertainty of life. This is what makes To Her Door such a stirring song. It plays on our deepest emotions. Enjoy!