Joseph "Joe" Dolce (born 1947 in Painesville, Ohio) is an American-born, Australian singer/songwriter who achieved fame with his multi-million-selling song, "Shaddap You Face", released under the name of his one-man show, Joe Dolce Music Theatre, in 1980. The single reached number one in 15 countries, it has sold more than 350,000+ copies in Australia, remaining the most successful Australian produced single in music history for thirty-two years and selling an estimated six million worldwide. It reached No. 1 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart for eight weeks from November 1980. The track kept Ultravox's "Vienna" off the number one singles spot in the United Kingdom.


Dolce was born in 1947 in Painesville, Ohio and formed various bands including Headstone Circus. with Jonathan Edwards (musician) who subsequently went on as a solo artist to have a charting hit song in the US 'Sunshine'. 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 Lin Van Hek as singer/performance artist.

In July 1980 he recorded the self-penned "Shaddap You Face", for Full Moon Records label at Mike Brady's new studios in West Melbourne. When in Ohio, Dolce would sometimes visit his Italian grandparents—they supplied the inspiration with "What's the matter, you?" and "Eh, shaddap". 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 UK from February 1981 for three weeks, also No. 1 in Austria, New Zealand and Switzerland. Dolce received the Advance Australia Award in 1981.

Follow up single, "If You Want to Be Happy" charted in Austria (No. 7) and New Zealand (top 40) but not in Australia. 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. He has continued to perform solo shows and with his longtime partner, Van Hek, as part of their music-literary cabaret Difficult Women.

Over the last two years Dolce has achieved recognition as a serious poet and essayist winning the 25th Launceston Poetry Cup in Tasmania and having forty-five poems and twenty-five new song-lyrics selected by Les Murray for publication in Quadrant (magazine) . Quadrant also published ten of his essays including: 'Biblical imagery in the Songwriting of the Creative infidels: Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Paul Kelly' (Jan-Feb 2012) and 'Hey Mr Cowbell Man: Sir Christopher Ricks' Dylan's Visions of Sin' (Mar 2012) . He has had poetry, essays and song-lyrics published in Meanjin, island, Contrappasso, The Canberra Times, Little Raven, Cordite, Eye to the Telescope, Carmenta, Journey, Vine Leaves, Divan and Antipodes (USA) . His first book of poetry HATBOX was released in 2010.

Joe Dolce's Works:


HATBOX poetry (2010)


Biblical Imagery in the Songwriting of the Creative Infidels: Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Paul Kelly (2012)
Hey Mr Cowbell Man: Sir Christopher Ricks' Dylan's Visions of Sin (2012)


Shaddap You Face (Full Moon, 1981)
Christmas in Australia (Hammard, 1981)
Memoirs of a Mouth Organ (1997)
Difficult Women (1998)
Steal Away Home (1999)
FreeLoveDays (2000)
Flower (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)

Poems by Joe Dolce

Poet of the day

George William Louis Marshall-Hall was an English-born musician, composer, conductor, poet and controversialist who lived and worked in Australia from 1891 till his death in 1915. According to his birth certificate, his surname was ‘Hall’ and ‘Marshall’ was his fourth given name, which commemorated his physiologist grandfather, Marshall Hall (1790–1857)...

Poem of the day

Hører, I, som græde,
Og med Taarer væde
Jesu Hvile-Sted!
Bort med Graad og Klage!
Her er gode Dage,
Her er Fryd og Fred,
Jesus smukt sin Magt har brugt,
Kløvet alle Fiendens Skjolde,
Stormet Mur og Volde!

Staaet op af Døde,