Paul Kelly has released a new single, ‘Every Step of the Way’, in honour of #19, Eddie Betts.
It’s the latest in a series of tributes to Australian sporting greats from Kelly, following songs toasting the achievements of Donald Bradman and Shane Warne.
‘Every Step Of the Way’ was written 12 months ago after Kelly had watched the AFL footballer and Indigenous man Eddie Betts speak on national television about the racism he’d experienced on and off the field over the course of his life.
“Eddie Betts has brought joy to me and so many others with the amazing feats he’s performed on the field for 17 years,” Kelly said in a statement. “But he’s shown even more class and courage off the field in talking about the deep hurt of everyday racism. Eddie keeps educating.”
In contrast to Kelly’s songs about Bradman and Warne, ‘Every Step Of the Way’ appears to be sung from Betts’ perspective—or, perhaps, a perspective inspired by Betts’ experiences.
“Oh, I’m so sick and tired of keeping it inside / I’m so sick and tired today,” Kelly sings in the chorus. “I remember the old ones’ hard travelling / They’re with me every step of the way.”
The song comes with Betts’ seal of approval. “I was so honoured when Paul reached out to me with a song that he had written from his heart,” he said. “I feel proud to have this song written for me by someone so respected here in Australia and someone who has always stood in solidarity with us mob—this song means a lot to me.”
Take a listen below.