Do-Ré-Mi aka Do-Re-Mi were an Australian rock/pop band formed in Sydney in 1981 by Deborah Conway (lead vocals), Dorland Bray (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Helen Carter (bass, backing vocals) and Stephen Philip (guitar). They were one of Australia's most respected and successful post-punk groups. Do-Ré-Mi recorded self-titled EP andThe Waiting Room for independent label Green Records before signing to Virgin Records and recording their first LP, Domestic Harmony in 1985 with Gavin MacKillop producing.Domestic Harmony contained their most played song, "Man Overboard", which was a top 5 hit single in 1985. This song was notable for its lyrical references to penis envy and pubic hair. Do-Ré-Mi's follow-up singles and second album, The Happiest Place in Town, produced by Martin Rushent, had little chart success. After Conway was offered a solo deal by Virgin Records, Do-Ré-Mi disbanded in late 1988.
Conway and Bray were both in Melbourne-based band The Benders with Neville Aresca, Les Barker, John Campbell, Daniel Solowiej and Greg Thomas. Before joining The Benders, Bray had been in punk rock group the News. Vocalist Conway joined The Benders in 1979 whilst still at Melbourne University. The Benders performed mostly in Melbourne and gigged around pubs playing original material (mostly written by Conway and Thomas) and Blondie and Devo covers. Conway and Bray also wrote songs together. In Sydney, Philip had been a guitarist for Thought Criminals and was also a session musician. Carter was a member of punk band Friction. Carter had been living with punk rocker Roger Grierson of Thought Criminals (later an executive of Festival Mushroom Records).
when the boys were taking a break at rehearsal one day, I picked up the bass guitar for the first time.
--Helen Carter, 2004
Bray and Conway left Melbourne for Sydney in 1981, forming Do-Ré-Mi with Carter. In July 1982 Do-Ré-Mi recorded some tracks for a self-titled 12" EP using Philip as a session musician. Philip formally joined the band by the time of the EP's release in August 1982 on independent label Green Records.
Conway had lived with Paul Hester drummer in Deckchairs Overboard (later in Split Enz and Crowded House). Hester guested on timbales for "(Just Like) Hercules", a track on their second 12" EP, released by Green Records in January 1983, The Waiting Room.
Do-Ré-Mi was signed by Virgin Records after being spotted by the management of Cold Chisel and The Angels. Do-Ré-Mi recorded two LP albums: Domestic Harmony (1985) and The Happiest Place in Town (1988) and seven singles for Virgin Records. Both albums were recorded in London, Domestic Harmony had Gavin McKillip producing and peaked at No. 16 on the Australian albums charts;.Martin Rushent produced The Happiest Place in Town.
Their best known hit, "Man Overboard" originally appeared on their 1983 EP The Waiting Room. They re-recorded "Man Overboard" for Domestic Harmony and the track was released as a single in June 1985. It peaked at No. 5 on the Australian singles chart. "Man Overboard" became the 8th highest positioned Australian song for 1985 End of Year Chart. In the Australian Broadcasting Corporation 2001 TV series Long Way to the Top Carter described the delight Do-Ré-Mi had in the success of this single, which came despite the concerns of their record company:
There was a real hit-maker mentality ... people would say 'It can't be a hit - it doesn't have a chorus ... You're talking about pubic hair, oh my God!'
--Helen Carter, 2001
In 1985 Do-Ré-Mi performed three songs for the Oz for Africa concert as part of the global Live Aid program - "Man Overboard", "Warnings Moving Clockwise" and "1000 Mouths". It was broadcast in Australia (on both Seven Network and Nine Network) and on MTV in the US.
Not long after their second album was released in February 1988, Do-Ré-Mi travelled to the United Kingdom to begin recording a third album. Before this was finished Virgin Records offered Conway a solo deal and Do-Ré-Mi disbanded.
Bray became a member of Ghostwriters for their first album Ghostwriters (1991). Carter and Philip wrote and performed together first with short lived Lupi and later (c. 2001) in Underfelt. Conway had a successful solo career, winning an ARIA award for her first solo album String of Pearls in 1991 (co-writing three songs with Bray). Her best known solo hit was 1991's "It's Only The Beginning" reaching No. 19. Conway is still involved in musical activities with a 2007 version of Broad. Thought Criminals reformed in February 2006: see Official website.
Covers and others:
"Man Overboard" was used for He Died with a Felafel in His Hand (2001) performed by Conway and Wicked Beat Sound System. It was also recorded by the band george (with Conway guesting) for their 2004 EP Still Real.
"Standing on Wires" was used for Australian TV series Love My Way (2004-2007) episode 2.03.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license