|B-side "Ain't in No Hurry"|
Genre Pop, comedy
|Released 1980 (International)
April 1981 (U.S.)|
Label Full Moon Records Epic Records (UK)
"Shaddap You Face" is a song written and performed by Joe Dolce (known at the time as the Joe Dolce Music Theatre) about a fictitious rebellious Italian boy. Released in late 1980, it set a number of sales and longevity records. The song is notable for keeping Ultravox's "Vienna" from reaching #1 on the UK music charts.
Sales and chart positions
"Shaddup You Face" went to #1 for eight weeks on the Australian pop charts in 1980. It reached Number 1 in the UK Singles Chart on 21 February 1981 and stayed there for three weeks until 14 March 1981—keeping Ultravox's single Vienna out of the top spot for all the three weeks it was there. The song became the 15th biggest hit of 1981 in Great Britain.
"Shaddap You Face" was also Number 1 in 11 other countries. There have been over 50 different foreign language cover versions, and hundreds more published informally on YouTube with new versions being recorded and uploaded every year. The original release sold over 6 million copies and has remained the most successful Australian-produced single in Australian music history for 33 years straight, with sales of over 450,000 copies. It was Australia's first triple platinum recording by the old count of 100,000 units equaling platinum status, which has since changed to 75,000 units, then 50,000, and finally 70,000 units. In 2002, "Shaddap You Face" also overtook Slim Dusty's 22-year longevity record for "A Pub with No Beer", which went to Number 1 in 1957, and was Australia's first gold record and only gold 78rpm record.
In the US, the song peaked at No. 53 in the summer of 1981 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 43 on the Cash Box Top 100, and No. 24 on Record World. However, it was regularly played on the Dr. Demento show to the point of being No. 6 on the year-end Funny 25 that year. In Canada, "Shaddap You Face" reached number two for two weeks.
Lou Monte released a cover of the song in 1981. Other notable cover versions have been done by KRS-One (hip-hop), EMF (British), Andrew Sachs (Manuel, of Fawlty Towers), Werner Böhm, alias: Gottlieb Wendehals (German, title: Mensch, ärger dich nicht), Sheila (French, titled: Et Ne La Ramène Pas), Dingetje (Dutch, titled: Houtochdiekop), De Strangers (muziekgroep (Dutch, titled: Agget Mor Fret), Volker Rosin und die Lollypops (German, titled: Hörst du nicht die Kuh - Muh!), Franco Franchi with the duo, Franco e Ciccio (Italian, title: Alì Alì Alè), an Aboriginal language version by Gnarnyarrhe Waitairie, a Papua New Guinean version by The Breeze Band (title: "Pasim Pes Bilong Yu" – pidgin version), and even a spoken word interpretation by Samuel L. Jackson.
The National Folk Festival in Canberra featured 'The Inspired Shaddap You Face Contest' in April 2006. Festival artists were invited to perform their interpretations of the classic song. The Cygnet Folk Festival in Tasmania featured the second 'Inspired Shaddap You Face Contest' in the following year. Joe Dolce was invited to be the MC at both events.