In 1977 Kelly had relocated to a shared house at 1109 Hoddle St, East Melbourne, he was pretty much broke but absorbing musical influences from a lively local club scene and the extensive record collection of one of his housemates.
He played the Carlton pub rock, campus, and inner-city venues as initially The High-Rise Bombers and then the Dots, they were generally described as New Wave, he met and married his first wife Hilary and their son Declan arrived in 1980.
By 1984 Kelly was living with his wife and family in a flat in Punt Rd. Richmond, he was hitless, without a band and paralysed by writer’s block, he went see a group called the Cuban Heels at a pub in Richmond, the band’s front-man, Steve Connolly, seemed to Kelly like a cross between Hubert Sumlin, Steve Cropper and James Burton, all legendary guitarists. Connolly would ultimately join Kelly a year later in Sydney as lead guitarist with the Coloured Girls, and his musical influence within the group would prove to be pivotal to their future success.
Leaps and Bounds was a double A-side release with Bradman on the flipside when taken off the Gossip album. It is uniquely Melbourne-oriented with specific references to the MCG, the Nylex digital clock above the Punt Rd silos, burning autumn leaves, Aussie rules football, and the city’s quirky weather. “I’m high on the hill/ Looking over the bridge/ To the MCG/ And way up high/ The clock on the silo/ Says eleven degrees/ I remember, I remember… “It was co-composed by Kelly and Chris Langman, when they shared the house in East Melbourne, the song took several years to complete, with Steve Connolly writing the ultimate riff, and Jon Schofield delivering a memorable rumbling bass line.
It is a poignant and timeless composition and much-loved by Melburnians, Kelly has performed it at the AFL Grand Final and the promo video was filmed atop the aforementioned, Punt Rd. silos.
When Meatloaf delivered a less than memorable halftime performance at the AFL Grand Final in 2011, fans demanded that local artists be engaged the very next year, of course Paul Kelly was the star turn, and he sang Leaps and Bounds to the great joy of the 100,000 people in attendance. The only mondegreen (misheard lyric) that has been consistently attributed to a Kelly song is this one, when Greg Arnold, front man with Things of Stone and Wood, recalled that one of his mates thought the song was about a guy who has been refused entry to the MCG and he‘s yelling, “But I ‘m a member, I’m a member!”