Joe Dolce, 2003
|Born||October 13, 1947|
|Origin||Painesville, Ohio, U.S.|
|Occupation(s)||Singer-songwriter, poet, essayist|
|Labels||MCA Records Full Moon/Astor, Hammard, PolyGram|
|Associated acts||Joe Dolce Music Theatre|
Joseph Dolce (born October 13, 1947)  (//, originally //) is an American-Australian singer/songwriter, poet and essayist who achieved international recognition with his multi-million-selling song, "Shaddap You Face", released under the name of his one-man show, Joe Dolce Music Theatre, worldwide, in 1980–1981.
The single reached number one in 15 countries, it has sold more than 450,000 copies in Australia, and for many years was the most successful Australian-produced single, selling an estimated six million copies worldwide. It reached No. 1 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart for eight weeks from November 1980.
Dolce was born in 1947, the eldest of three children, to Italian-American parents, in Painesville, Ohio, graduating from Thomas W. Harvey High School in 1965. During his senior year, he played the lead role of Mascarille in Molière's "Les Précieuses Ridicules" for a production staged by the French Club of Lake Erie College, which was his first time on stage, acting and singing an impromptu song he created from the script. The play was well received and his performance was noted by director Jake Rufli, who later invited him to be part of his production of Jean Anouilh's "Eurydice".
His co-star in "Les Précieuses Ridicules" was a sophomore, on a creative writing scholarship, at Lake Erie College, Carol Dunlop, who introduced him to folk music, poetry and the writings of William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. Dunlop later married the Argentine novelist Julio Cortazar. Dolce attended Ohio University, majoring in Architecture, from 1965–67, before deciding to become a professional musician.
Musical and theatrical career
While attending college at Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, he formed various bands including Headstone Circus, with Jonathan Edwards who subsequently went on as a solo artist to have a charting hit song in the US ("Sunshine"). Edwards subsequently recorded five Dolce songs including, "Athens County", "Rollin' Along", "King of Hearts", "The Ballad of Upsy Daisy" and "My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame", the latter song becoming an alt country classic, also recorded by Robert Earl Keen, Rosalie Sorrels, JD Crowe & the New South, and many others.
Move to Australia
Dolce relocated to Melbourne, Australia in 1978 and his first single there was "Boat People"—a protest song on the poor treatment of Vietnamese refugees—which was translated into Vietnamese and donated to the fledgling Vietnamese community starting to form in Melbourne. His one-man show, Joe Dolce Music Theatre, performed in cabarets and pubs with various line-ups, including his longtime partner, Lin Van Hek.
"Shaddap You Face"
In July 1980, he recorded the self-penned "Shaddap You Face", for the Full Moon Records label, at Mike Brady's new studios in West Melbourne. When in Ohio, Dolce would sometimes visit his Italian grandparents and extended family—they used the phrases "What's the matter, you?" and "Eh, shaddap", which Dolce adapted and used in the song. He wrote the song about Italians living in Australia and first performed it at Marijuana House, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy in 1979. Dolce paid A$500 for the recording and spent $1000 on the music video clip, which was created by Melbourne filmmaker, Chris Lofven.
It became a multi-million-selling hit, peaking at No. 1 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart for eight weeks from November 1980, in the UK from February 1981 for three weeks, and also No. 1 in Germany, France, Fiji, Puerto Rico, Quebec, Austria, New Zealand and Switzerland. Dolce received the Advance Australia Award in 1981. The song has had hundreds of cover versions over the decades including releases by artists as diverse as Lou Monte, Sheila (France), Andrew Sachs (Manuel, of Fawlty Towers), actor Samuel L. Jackson and hip-hop legends, KRS-One. In 2018, the first Russian language version was released by two of Moscow's most popular singers, Kristina Orbakaite and Philipp Kirkorov. The song has been translated into fifteen languages, including an aboriginal dialect.
Subsequent artistic career
Follow up single, "If You Wanna Be Happy" charted in Australia (No. 7) and New Zealand (top 40). Dolce's subsequent singles included "Pizza Pizza", "Christmas in Australia" and "You Toucha My Car I Breaka You Face" and he released two albums during this period, Shaddap You Face and The Christmas Album. With Lin Van Hek, he formed various performance groups including Skin the Wig, La Somnambule (1984) and the ongoing Difficult Women (1993). Van Hek and Dolce co-wrote "Intimacy", for the 1984 film, The Terminator's soundtrack, now part of the US Library of Congress collection. He was a featured lead actor in the Australian film Blowing Hot and Cold (1988). He has continued to perform solo and with Van Hek as part of their music-literary cabaret Difficult Women. In the past decade, he has also received extensive recognition as a poet and essayist.
In 1976, he married Zandie Acton, the sister of fashion icon Prue Acton, in Berkeley, California. They had two children, Ever and Brea, and moved to Australia in 1979, separated and divorced. He met singer-writer-painter Lin Van Hek in 1980, in Tiamos Coffee Shop, in Carlton, Victoria. They have remained together for thirty-eight years and have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren.
Joe Dolce has achieved further recognition as a poet and essayist.
He was the winner of the 2017 University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize. He won the 25th Launceston Poetry Cup in Tasmania in 2010. He has set poems to music by Sappho, Sylvia Plath, Les Murray, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Andrew Lansdown and C.P. Cavafy. He wrote "Hill of Death" from a poem of Louisa Lawson's that won Best Folk Gospel Song at the Australian Gospel Awards. "Cocaine Lil", an eighteenth-century public domain lyric, formed the basis for an up-tempo blues song – both of these poems-set-to-music appeared on his 2007 album The Wind Cries Mary. "Cocaine Lil" was also included as a featured track in Australian Guitar Player Magazine.
He has had over 150 poems, including thirty-five new unpublished song-lyrics, selected by Queen's Medal for Poetry recipient Les Murray for publication in Quadrant, as stand-alone poetry, including two poems in Best of Quadrant Poetry 2001–2010.
Between 2015–2017, he was on staff at the Australian Institute of Music, Melbourne, teaching Ensemble, Composition, Lyric and Poetry Setting & personal tutoring.
He has had four essays published in Meanjin – "The Benefit of Smoking" (May 2013), "My Craft or Sullen Art: Poetry, Songwriting" (May 2014), "Todesengel and the Seven Dwarfs" (May 2015) and "Dirty Laundry: The Art of Confessional Writing" (December 2017).
The Monthly published his essay on art censorship, "Shaddap You Facebook", in April 2013.
Quadrant has also published twenty-five of his essays: "Biblical Imagery in the Songwriting of the Creative Infidels: Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Paul Kelly" (Jan–Feb 2012), "Hey Mr Cowbell Man: Sir Christopher Ricks' Dylan's Visions of Sin" (March 2012), "Anti the Anti" (June 2012), "Who Is This White Fella Fella?" (October 2012), "In the Op Shop With Percy Grainger" (November 2012), "Father Scapegoat" (January–February 2013), "Pen Pencil or Keyboard" (March 2013), "Elysium in Paraguay" (July–August 2013), "Graham Greene's Lolita" (April 2014), "Speechless" (July–August 2014), "William S. Burroughs: Scientologist" (Apr. 2015), "Salve for a Broken Childhood: The Phenomenon of Rod McKuen"(Sept. 2015),"The Popular Wobbly: The Subversiveness of Starvation Box Blues" (Oct. 2015),"Florence Foster Jenkins: Dire Diva of Din" (June 2016), "Polymaths and Monomaths" (July–August 2016), "The Willingness to Be Hated" (Sept 2016),"Ain't Gonna Work on Bob Dylan's Farm No More" (October 2016), "Grape-Pickin': Best Australian Poems 2016"(March 2017),"The Great American Songbook: The Classical Music of America" (April 2017), "How I Met Jake Rufli" (Dec. 2017), "GSTQ – God Save the Queen" (March 2018) and "Maximilian Kolbe: Saint of Auschwitz" (April 2018). From June 2018, he has written Quadrant's monthly critical review of extended television series including "The Crown", "The Night Manager", "Great British Railway Journeys","Victoria" and "The Last Kingdom".
He has been shortlisted for the 2017 Queensland Poetry Festival Philip Bacon Ekphrasis Poetry Prize (2 poems), the 2017 Ipswich Poetry Feast Photographic Ekphrasis Prize, the 2014 Newcastle Poetry Prize and long listed three times for the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's Poetry Prize in 2014, 2017 & 2018.
Dolce's poetry, essays, short stories, photographs and song-lyrics have been published in Meanjin, Overland, Island magazine, Southerly, Cordite, Eye to the Telescope, Verity La, Contrappasso, The Canberra Times, Soto, Stars Like Sand, Australian Love Poems, Flightpath, Going Down Swinging, Carmenta, Spinifex Press, Journey, Australian Poetry Magazine, Coolabah 23: Short Poems Issue, Shots from the Chamber, Best of Vine Leaves, Meniscus, Going Down Swinging, PEN International (in English & Arabic translation), Best of Little Raven, Not Shut Up (UK), Artview (UK), Voltage (USA), Tupelo Press (USA), Báo Giấy Vietnamese Poetry Journal (USA – in English and Vietnamese translation), Structure and Surprise (USA), "North of Oxford " (USA) and American Association for Australian Literary Studies (Antipodes) (USA).
He released his first self-published book of poems HATBOX in 2010 and his most recent book, ON MURRAY'S RUN – 150 poems and songlyrics selected by Les Murray – in 2017, is published by Ginninderra Press.
He is included in Best Australian Poems 2015 and 2014, edited by Geoff Page, published by Black Inc.
In May 2015, the Aphids Theatre Company produced a successful contemporary Futurist deconstruction of his life story, called A Singular Phenomenon, which ran for three sold-out nights at The Malthouse Theatre, in Melbourne, and was nominated for a Green Room Award in 2016.
He is currently contributing as the extended series television review editor for Quadrant.
- Shaddap You Face (Full Moon, 1981)
- Christmas in Australia (Hammard, 1981)
- Difficult Women with Lin Van Hek (1992)
- Black Pepper With a Hint of Violets Difficult Women, with Lin Van Hek (1995)
- Memoirs of a Mouth Organ (1997)
- Steal Away Home (1999)
- freelovedays (2000)
- Flower with Lin Van Hek (2001)
- The Wind Cries Mary (2007)
- "Boat People" (1979)
- "Shaddap You Face" (Full Moon, 1980)
- "If You Want to Be Happy" (Full Moon, May 1981) AUT No. 7, NZL No. 33
- "Reggae Matilda" (1981)
- "Christmas in Australia" (November 1981)
- "You Toucha My Car I Breaka You Face" (June 1982)
- "Pizza Pizza" (Fable, 1984)
- "Vaffanculo Polka" (February 1989)
- "Dead Cat Bounce" (November 2011)
- Dolce, Joe (2010). Hatbox. Carlton, Vic.: Dolceamore Music.
- Dolce, Joe (2017). On Murray's Run: poems & lyrics selected by Les Murray. Port Adelaide: Ginninderra Press.
- List of poems
|Lemonricks||2012||Dolce, Joe (2012). "Lemonricks". Meanjin. 71 (1).||Six lemonricks|
|Sandmen||2016||Dolce, Joe (January–February 2016). "Sandmen". Quadrant. 60 (1–2): 23.|
|Noh means Noh||2016||Dolce, Joe (January–February 2016). "Noh means Noh". Quadrant. 60 (1–2): 23.|
|The daughter that still loves me||2016||Dolce, Joe (January–February 2016). "The daughter that still loves me". Quadrant. 60 (1–2): 98.|
- No Two Snowflakes (Quadrant 2015)
- The Clavier Challenge: Bach vs Marchand (Quadrant 2016)
- Two-headed Lady (Quadrant 2016)
- E (Quadrant 2018)
Essays and other contributions
- Biblical Imagery in the Songwriting of the Creative Infidels: Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Paul Kelly (Quadrant Dec 2012)
- Hey Mr Cowbell Man: Sir Christopher Ricks' Dylan's Visions of Sin (Quadrant Mar 2012)
- Anti the Anti (Quadrant June 2012)
- In the Op Shop With Percy Grainger (Quadrant Nov 2012)
- Who Is This White Fella Fella? (Quadrant Oct 2012)
- Pen Pencil or Keyboard (Quadrant Mar 2013)
- Father Scapegoat (Quadrant Jan-Feb 2013)
- Shaddap You Facebook (Monthly Apr 2013)
- Elyisum in Paraguay (Quadrant July-Aug 2013)
- The Benefit of Smoking (Meanjin May 2013)
- Wheat from Chaff (Australian Poetry Journal ‘Sotto’ July 2013)
- Shadow Boxing With John Ernest Tranter (Red Wolf Nov 2013)
- Jikan. Poet Laureate of Songwriters: Leonard Cohen (Red Wolf Nov 2013)
- My Craft or Sullen Art (Meanjin May 2014)
- Graham Greene's Lolita (Quadrant Apr 2014)
- Speechless: Free Speech, Fair Speech and the Skokie Case (Quadrant July-Aug 2014)
- William S. Burroughs: Scientologist (Quadrant Apr 2015)
- Todesengel and the Seven Dwarfs (Meanjin Mar 2015)
- Florence Foster Jenkins: Dire Dive of Din (Quadrant June 2016)
- Last Interview with Dorothy Porter (Southerly 2016)
- Boat People: North & South (Contrappasso Nov 2016)
- Polymaths & Monomaths (Quadrant July-Aug 2016)
- Ain't Gonna Work On Bob Dylan's Farm No More (Quadrant Dec 2016)
- The Great American Songbook: The Classical Music of Tin Pan Alley (Quadrant Apr 2017)
- Dirty Laundry: The Art of Confessional Writing (Meanjin 2017).
- A Portrait of the Artist as Place: Bluewren Cantos, by Mark Tredinnick (Rochford Street Review 2015)
- Grape-Picking: Best Australian Poems 2016. (Quadrant 2017)
- ""Shaddap You Face" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 9 January 2010.
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Joe Dolce'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- Spencer, Chris; Zbig Nowara, Paul McHenry with notes by Ed Nimmervoll (2002) . "DOLCE, Joe". The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Noble Park, Vic.: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1. Retrieved 9 January 2010. Note: [on-line] version established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd Archived 29 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
- Joe Dolce official site – biography
- Jenkins, Jeff; Ian Meldrum (2007). "Chapter 22: Joe Dolce". Molly Meldrum presents 50 years of rock in Australia. Melbourne, Vic: Wilkinson Publishing. pp. 167–168. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1.
- Roberts, David (2005). Guinness World Records: British Hit Singles and Albums (18th edition). Guinness World Records Limited. p. 14. ISBN 1-904994-00-8.
- "Discographie Joe Dolce Music Theatre". Austrian Charts Portal. Retrieved 10 January 2010. Note: Some information is in German.
- "Discography Joe Dolce Music Theatre". New Zealand Charts Portal. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- "Discographie Joe Dolce Music Theatre". Swiss Charts Portal. Retrieved 10 January 2010. Note: Some information is in German.
- "Joe Dolce Music Theatre – Shaddap You Face". Australian Charts Portal. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- "Joe Dolce". Countdown. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
- ""Intimacy" at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- ""Terminator Cues" at The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)". ASCAP. Retrieved 10 January 2010.