Throughout the mid- to late-1980s, Sydney band Do Ré Mi was one of Australia's most successful and respected post-punk outfits. Initially adhering to its punk roots, the band recorded two 12-inch EPs on the independent GREEN label, Standing on Wires and The Waiting Room (issued through EMI). The Waiting Room (January 1983) contained an early version of what became the band's most distinctive song, `Man Overboard'.
The band earned a strong live following courtesy of what writer Clinton Walker once described as `stringent, slicing, funky, politically-motivated rock'. Do Ré Mi signed with Virgin Records and the band's chart run commenced in July 1985 when `Man Overboard'/`Fish Tank', `Black Crocodiles' reached #4 on the national chart. The brutally honest anti-love song `Man Overboard' featured Deborah Conway at her compelling best. It was also the first chart hit to mention the words `penis envy' and `pubic hair' in its lyrics. The band's debut album Domestic Harmony (recorded at Townhouse III Studios in London with producer Gavin McKillop) also reached the national Top 10 (#6 in September 1985).
It was to be a peak that the band could not duplicate. Six further singles made the Top 100 by 1988, but none did better than Top 30: `Idiot Grin'/`No Fury' (September 1985, #43), `Warnings Moving Clockwise'/`Disneyland', `Standing on Wires' (May 1986, #72), `Guns and Butter'/`Bill the Cat' (October 1986, #48), `King of Moomba'/`Tearing Up the Carpet' (May 1987, #52), `Adultery'/ `Deep Blue Sea' (October 1987, #22) and `Haunt You'/`Sweet Nothing' (June 1988, #91).
Another English producer Martin Rushent (Buzzcocks, Human League) produced the band's next album, The Happiest Place in Town (February 1988). It was a strong second album with an accessible pop sound, but following bouts of international touring the band broke up at the end of 1988. Conway was named Best Australian Female Singer by Rolling Stone magazine that year. Deborah Conway went solo while Stephen Philip and Helen Carter formed Lupi. Dorland Bray could be found in Ghostwriters with Rick Grossman (Hoodoo Gurus) and Rob Hirst (Midnight Oil).