Home Music Music News

Listen: Paul Kelly Covers Sunnyboys for Mushroom 50

Kelly follows Missy Higgins, Bliss n Eso, and The Temper Trap in covering an Australian classic to celebrate Mushroom’s landmark anniversary

Paul Kelly


The cover songs for Mushroom 50 just keep on coming, with Paul Kelly the latest artist to celebrate the record label’s landmark anniversary.

Mushroom Group recently announced it was celebrating its 50th birthday in a big way with a series of events and initiatives to be held throughout the year.

Formed by the late, great Michael Gudinski in 1972, Mushroom Group released its first album the following year, the iconic Sunbury 1973, The Great Australian Rock Festival. Very quickly Gudinski established Mushroom as one of Australia’s foremost and finest record labels; 50 years later, Mushroom now represents Australian culture around the world, as well as bringing the globe’s best talent to this country.

That’s why Mushroom decided to mark its five decades at the top in such style. Before a massive Mushroom 50 concert in November featuring a to-be-announced all-star lineup, some of Australia’s most iconic musicians will release stunning works throughout the year.

Now following The Temper Trap, Missy Higgins, and Bliss n Eso is the one and only Paul Kelly, offering his own take on Sunnyboys’ “Alone With You”. Released by the Sydney band in 1981, “Alone With You” is a seminal song in Australian music.

These two artists were always going to be a part of Mushroom 50 in some way: Kelly released his first eight albums with Mushroom Records, while Sunnyboys were the first Sydney band to sign to the label

“I love the bittersweetness of the song, its minor-major ambiguity, its melancholy wrapped in pure rock ’n’ roll joy,” Kelly says. “I hear the words “alone with you” two ways: “We’re alone together, just us” or “I’m with you but I’m still alone.” Jeremy carries both those meanings in his singing. That’s the genius of the song. And there’s genius in the guitar break, too. A brilliant, yearning modulation of chords that lifts off to pure transcendence.

“We didn’t even consider doing some kind of ‘interpretation’ of the song. It seemed to us to be written in singing stone. We played it like classical musicians tackling a score. Just serve the song. Not our place to fuck with it,” Kelly adds.

You can listen to Kelly’s cover below. The series will end with the release of a Mushroom 50 album containing all the songs, serving as the definitive compilation of reimagined Mushroom music.

Paul Kelly’s “Alone With You” (Sunnyboys cover) is out now via Mushroom Group.