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Was it just a catchy song or a serious contribution to multicultural Australia? What'sa matta you, hey! Gotta no respect, whatta you think you do, Why you looka so sad? It's-a not so bad, it's-a nice-a place, Ah, shaddap you face! Since May, European mobile phone company Connex has been blanketing Romanian television and radio with for its slick new 3G mobile service.
And what catchy little jingle has the phone company employed to flog its wares? For reasons perhaps best understood by Romanian marketers, it is using Joe Dolce's Shaddap You Facethe megahit that sold 4 million copies and topped the charts in Australia, the UK and 11 other countries.
Many Australians would recall Dolce's song as even more teeth-grindingly irritating than the tune it replaced as Australia's best selling single — singer and ad man Mike Brady's Up There Cazaly. Shirley Strachan, the late Skyhooks front man, didn't think so when in he told Dolce he pitied him because his only hit was a novelty song.
It was a phenomenon," Dolce remembers telling Strachan. When Dolce's song came out init was an instant singalong classic. But at least one music critic thought it was Who sang shut up your face phenomenon Dolce had described. The association's list of the 10 best Australian songs of the past 75 years did not include Dolce's. And as cheesy as Shaddap You Face was, Mathieson argued in an opinion piece for The Ageit was too important to Australian pop history to leave out.
Everything a good pop song should be. And perhaps the reason Dolce so staunchly defends Shaddap You Face as a great folk track. Versions of the song have been recorded by a remarkable 37 acts, in 15 different languages including three in Spanish, two in German, two in French and an Icelandic version. Proof, Dolce says, that it bridges cultures. If you look past the original recording's ham-Italian accent and limp comedic mandolins, the song speaks of a migrant teenager's battle with his domineering mother, of the new society the family had found itself in, and the struggle of their working-class life.
Brady also believes the song played a part Who sang shut up your face the emergence of new attitudes to multiculturalism. Dolce himself believes his song was the start of a rising tide of tolerance in Australia — that ethnic minorities could finally be accepted, and that humour was a way to shimmy them through the door of acceptance, rather than a dour-faced political correctness. His song is as unlikely a place as any to pick up the rich vein of ethnic humour that ran through 20th century Australia. Dolce himself is an interesting study in multiculturalism. Born in Ohio to an Italian-American family, he came to Australia in with his Australian first wife, after almost a decade trying to forge a career in the American music scene.
In America, Frank Sinatra was the benchmark," says Dolce. Here, there was barely a mark. There were no Italian entertainers, and people from southern Europe were roundly derided as "wogs" and "dagoes". And they weren't terms of affection. He had recently visited his childhood home in Ohio, and heard phrases his Calabrian and Sicilian grandparents had muttered to him as : "What's the matter you? He incorporated them into a song about Italians in Australia, and played the song as the character Giuseppe.
At first, everyone would be silent and embarrassed. Then, with a bit of coaxing, they would eventually start pulling out these foul, repugnant terms for a 'wog'.
He took it to Mushroom and Festival Records, who laughed him out of the building. He took it back to Brady. By November, it was atop the Australian charts. John had heard the song while touring here, and had his manager approach Dolce with the idea of buying the rights for the UK market. After Dolce knocked them back, John's group immediately contracted Andrew Sachs Manuel from Fawlty Towers to cover the track, perhaps in the hope the Australian's lack of knowledge of the European market would allow them to release a slightly altered version Manuel was to be from a Spanish family.
But Dolce was no bumpkin from the boondocks: an immediate injunction with a British court stopped the release of Sachs' version, and a judgement in Dolce's favour forced the recall of all copies of that version. But the song stands as Who sang shut up your face of multicultural Australia's new-found ability to laugh at its own ethnic stereotypes, says Dolce.
Italians make fun of their characters in the same way. Once the humour is accepted, so is the minority group, says Dolce. He cites the Koran as a contemporary example. You can't mess with Allah. Today, much of Dolce's time is taken up writing new material and Who sang shut up your face a stage show called Difficult Women with partner Lin Van Hek.
If ever he sings Shaddap You Face it's in an Aboriginal dialect. In the song, he tells the story of a Dreamtime teenager being scolded by his mother. First Australian singleBoat Peoplea protest tune about Australia's shabby treatment of Vietnamese refugees. The song flopped. What's a matter you, hey? Please try again later. The Age. July 24, — Save Log inregister or subscribe to save articles for later. Normal text size Larger text size Very large text size. It remains Australia's highest selling single. Many others, of course, just saw it as a chance to laugh at migrants.
What he found in Melbourne horrified him. Though it was comedy, Dolce also used the performance to confront racism. Last recordingOne Iraqi Childa protest song about war in Iraq. Website joedolce. this article.Who sang shut up your face
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Is there life after Shaddap You Face?