Remembering Joe Dolce’s “Shaddap You Face”

In the early 1980s, a “novelty” song started getting a lot of play on the radio around where I lived. It was by the US/Australian artist Joe Dolce and it was called “Shaddap You Face”. The song which is sung in a heavily Italian accented pidgen English revolves around a young rebellious boy and his Mamma’s reaction to his attitude.

The song would hit #1 in Australia and England, but did not crack the top 50 in the US. Of course, if you grew up in northern New Jersey, you might not have guessed it. This song was all over the place and I think my family might have even bought the single. When it was on in the car we loudly and embarrassingly sang along (at least my Mom and I did).

With its heavy rotation on Dr. Demento the song stayed in my life for a lot longer than the average American, but by 1982 the memories of the song started to fade. Then out of nowhere, just last week, I was walking down the street and started singing the song to myself. It came out of nowhere. Was I a “sleeper agent” programmed by Dr. Demento and Joe Dolce with orders to try to help revive this earworm decades later? All of my instincts say “yes.”

So here is Joe Dolce singing his classic hit live (with malfunctioning silly string). If you love it, why not drop by Amazon and download Shaddap You Face.

Here is the version we heard on the radio:

…and here is Samuel L. Jackson channeling Joe Dolce:


Garry Vander Voort

Editor/Podcaster at Retroist
The Retroist is like a BBQ on a bun without the bones. You're only human daddy. Chomp!

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4 thoughts on “Remembering Joe Dolce’s “Shaddap You Face”

  1. ddsw says:

    That’s funny…I remember this one was a crowd pleaser at my local roller rink in northern Monmouth County, NJ.

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