Paul Kelly is not just Australia’s greatest and most enduring songwriter. There is something that goes even deeper than that. His songs have a way of digging into the country in a way that few artists do, how it looks, feels, tastes, sounds. The joys and sorrows, achievements and follies. If you want to know something about Australia, how it feels to be Australian, you can find it in his songs.
Kelly's Top 40 singles include "Billy Baxter", "Before Too Long", "Darling It Hurts", "To Her Door" (his highest-charting local hit in 1987), "Dumb Things" (appeared on United States charts in 1988), and "Roll on Summer". Top-20 albums include Gossip, Under the Sun, Comedy, Songs from the South (1997 compilation), ...Nothing but a Dream, Stolen Apples, Spring and Fall, The Merri Soul Sessions, Seven Sonnets and a Song, Death's Dateless Night (with Charlie Owen), Life Is Fine – his first number-one album – and Nature.
Kelly has won 14 ARIA Music Awards, including his induction into their Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2001 the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) listed the Top 30 Australian songs of all time, which included Kelly's "To Her Door", and "Treaty", written by Kelly and members of Yothu Yindi. Aside from "Treaty", Kelly wrote or co-wrote several songs on Indigenous Australian social issues and historical events. He provided songs for many other artists, tailoring them to their particular vocal range. The album Women at the Well from 2002 had 14 female artists record his songs in tribute.
Kelly was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2017 for distinguished service to the performing arts and to the promotion of the national identity through contributions as a singer, songwriter and musician.