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Joe Dolce

b. 1947, Painesville, Ohio, USA. Of Italian/American extraction, Dolce was supposedly a member of Headstone Circus aka Sugar Creek, an obscure country rock act which released an album Please Tell A Friend, on Metromedia Records in 1968. By 1974, he was touring the USA east coast, fronting a ‘poetry/rock’ group, but he emigrated to Australia in 1979 where he formed the Joe Dolce Music Theatre, a cabaret-style act, with Dolce himself playing a character known as Giuseppe. In this guise, he recorded a novelty single, ‘Shaddap You Face’, which became a major hit in Australia, and was licensed to Epic in the UK and MCA in the USA. No doubt it appealed to Italian immigrants on both sides of the Atlantic, and while it stalled just outside the US Top 50 in mid-1981, it had already topped the UK singles chart for three weeks in February 1981, supplanting ‘Woman’ by John Lennon, whose records were dominating the UK chart in the wake of his recent murder. As with many novelty acts, Dolce was unable to follow up this success, although (remarkably) an album titled after the hit spent a month in the US Top 200 album chart also in 1981. Dolce subsequently returned to performing with the Joe Dolce Music Theatre, turning his back on the comic elements of his work and staging ambitious adaptations of the writings of Sappho, Albert Schweitzer, and Sylvia Plath. Much of his work has been performed with Lin Van Hek as part of the literary-music group, Difficult Women.
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