Do-Ré-Mi, 1985 publicity shot
L–R: Stephen Philip, Helen Carter, Deborah Conway, Dorland Bray
|Genres||Pop rock/New Wave|
|Labels||Green, Larrikan, Virgin|
|Associated acts||The Benders, Thought Criminals, Deborah Conway, Ghostwriters|
|Past members||Dorland Bray
Do-Re-Mi aka Do-Ré-Mi were an Australian Rock/Pop band formed in Sydney in 1981 when Deborah Conway (lead vocals) and Dorland Bray (drums, percussion, backing vocals) joined Helen Carter (bass, backing vocals) and later recruited Stephen Philip (guitar). They were one of Australia's most respected and successful post-punk groups, and recorded a self-titled EP in 1982 for independent label Green Records. The Waiting Room EP followed in 1983, but neither EP had any chart success. They were signed to Virgin Records and travelled to London to record their first LP, Domestic Harmony in 1985 with Gavin MacKillop producing. Domestic Harmony contained their best known song, "Man Overboard" which was a surprise 1985 top 5 hit single. It was the first Australian chart hit to include lyrics referring to penis envy and pubic hair. Their follow-up singles and second album, The Happiest Place in Town produced by Martin Rushent, had little chart success. After Conway was offered a solo deal by Virgin Records, Do-Ré-Mi disbanded in late 1988.
Conway and Bray were both in Melbourne based band The Benders with Neville Aresca, Les Barker, John Campbell, Daniel Solowiej and Greg Thomas. Bray had previously been in punk rock group the News. He left to become drummer for the Benders and vocalist Conway joined them in 1979 whilst still at Melbourne University. They performed mostly in Melbourne and gigged around pubs playing original material (mostly written by Conway and Thomas) and Blondie and Devo covers. Conway wrote her first songs with Bray from 1979. In Sydney, Carter was living with punk rocker Roger Grierson of Thought Criminals (later an executive of Festival Mushroom Records).
when the boys were taking a break at rehearsal one day, I picked up the bass guitar for the first time.—Helen Carter, 2004
Bray and Conway decided to leave Melbourne for Sydney in 1981. They formed Do-Ré-Mi with Carter and started writing songs. In July 1982 they started recording some tracks for their self-titled EP using Philip as a session musician, he was asked to formally join the band by the time of its release in August on independent label Green Records. Conway was living with Paul Hester drummer in Deckchairs Overboard (later in Split Enz and Crowded House). Hester guested on timbales for "(Just Like) Hercules" on their second EP, 1983's The Waiting Room. They were signed by Virgin Records after being spotted by the management of Cold Chisel and The Angels. Do-Ré-Mi recorded two LP albums: Domestic Harmony (1985) and The Happiest Place in Town (1988) and seven singles for Virgin Records. Both albums were recorded in London, Domestic Harmony had Gavin McKillip producing and peaked at #16 on the Australian albums charts; while Martin Rushent produced The Happiest Place in Town. Virgin promoted the band both in Australia and England with publicity shots depicting the band's members (see infobox above).
Their best performed hit, "Man Overboard" originally appeared on their 1982 EP The Waiting Room. "Man Overboard" was re-recorded in January/February 1985 for Domestic Harmony and was released as a single in June, it peaked at #5 on the Australian singles chart. "Man Overboard" became the 8th highest positioned Australian song for 1985 End of Year Chart. Carter described the delight Do-Ré-Mi had in the success of this single despite the blockers from their record company for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2001 TV series Long Way To The Top.
There was a real hit-maker mentality [...] people would say 'It can't be a hit - it doesn't have a chorus [...] You're talking about pubic hair, oh my God!'—Helen Carter, 2001
In 1985 Do-Ré-Mi performed three songs for the Oz for Africa concert as part of the global Live Aid program - "Man Overboard", "Warnings Moving Clockwise" and "1000 Mouths". It was broadcast in Australia (on both Seven Network and Nine Network) and on MTV in the US.
"Adultery" was their 1987 CD single for Virgin Records and had a cover which depicted the four members, Conway, Bray, Carter and Philip. Do-Ré-Mi travelled to UK, in 1988, where Virgin Records offered Conway a solo deal before continuing with a third album but they disbanded not long after their second album was released and a third album was never finished.
Bray became a member of Ghostwriters for their first album Ghostwriters (1991). Carter and Philip have written and performed together first with short lived Lupi and later (c. 2001) in Underfelt. Conway had a succuessful solo career, she won an ARIA award for her first solo album String of Pearls in 1991 (co-writing three songs with Bray). Her best performed solo hit was 1991's "It's Only The Beginning" reaching #19. Conway is still involved in musical activities with a 2007 version of Broad. Thought Criminals reformed in February 2006 see their Official website.
Covers and others
"Man Overboard" has been used for He Died with a Felafel in His Hand (2001) performed by Conway and Wicked Beat Sound System. It was also recorded by the band george (with Conway guesting) for their 2004 EP Still Real.
All tracks written by Bray, Carter, Conway and Philip except where noted.
- "Man Overboard" (Virgin Records, re-released June 1985) #5 Aus
- "Idiot Grin" (Virgin Records, September 1985) #43 Aus
- "Warnings Moving Clockwise" (Virgin Records, December 1985)
- "Guns and Butter" (Virgin Records, October 1986) #48 Aus
- "King of Moomba" (Virgin Records, May 1987)
- "Happiest Place in Town" (Philip, Bray) (Virgin Records, February 1988)
- "Haunt You" (Virgin Records, May 1988)
- Do-Ré-Mi (Green Records, August 1982 EP)
- The Waiting Room (Larrikan Records, January 1983 EP)
- Domestic Harmony (Virgin Records, July 1985 LP, 1988 CD has five bonus tracks).
- Adultery (Virgin Records, October 1987 CD single) #27 Aus
- The Happiest Place in Town (Virgin Records, February 1988 CD).
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Do-Ré-Mi'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- "Do-Ré-Mi". HowlSpace – The Living History of Our Music (Ed Nimmervoll). Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
- "Do-Re-Mi". Australian Rock Database. Magnus Holmgren. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1970 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
- Debbie Kruger (14–20 July 2004). "Once more with feeling". Melbourne Weekly Bayside Magazine. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- "Long Way To The Top article on Helen Carter". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- "Deborah Conway Official Website". Deborah Conway. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- Harris, Anna (30 January 2004). "Deborah Conway - still alive and brilliant". Archived from the original on 2006-05-14. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- "Helen Carter video interview for Long Way To The Top". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
- Helen Carter (January 2004). "Publication reviews". Perfect Beat 5 pp 80-82. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
- "1985 End of Year Chart". Oz Net Music Chart. Retrieved 2008-10-16.[dead link]
- "Oz for Africa". liveaid.free.fr. Retrieved 2008-03-12.
- "He Died with a Felafel in His Hand soundtrack". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
- "george Official Website". george. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
- T. Zuk. "Love My Way music credits". Australian TV information archive. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
- "Australasian Performing Right Association". APRA. Retrieved 2007-09-25.