World Party

Formed in 1986, World Party was a British alternative rock / pop group founded by Welsh keyboardist and songwriter Karl Wallinger (born October 19, 1957). Originally a member of The Waterboys during their most commercially successful period between 1983 and 1985, Karl Wallinger left the group due to creative differences with bandleader Mike Scott. As co-producer, keyboardist, and co-songwriter of the group, Wallinger was an integral part of The Waterboys ‘Big Music’ sound and Mike Scott soon took the band in a different musical direction. Karl Wallinger continued writing songs and recorded a series of new songs on his own, performing all the instruments and vocals himself. Blending pop, folk, and funk, he called his new project World Party and released the album Private Revolution in 1987. The album featured the hit single “Ship of Fools,” which hit the Top 50 in the UK and Canada and rose to number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. The songs “Private Revolution” and “All Come True” were not as commercially successful but earned a lot of airplay on alternative rock / college radio stations. For live performances, Wallinger recruited former Waterboys keyboardist Guy Chambers, drummer Chris Sharrock (The Icicle Works) and other musicians to translate his very personal music into a live band experience. Using many of these musicians for the next album, World Party released Goodbye Jumbo in 1990. The album’s singles “Put the Message in the Box” and “Way Down Now” were successful on alternative radio in the US and both hit the Billboard Alternative Songs chart (the latter reached number 1). However, the group’s next album, Bang! (1993), was a critical success but did not feature any commercially successful singles. While 1997’s Egyptology album was not a success, it featured a song called “She’s the One,” which was later covered by British pop star Robbie Williams in 1999 and became a massive worldwide success. Williams’ version of the song featured former World Party member Guy Chambers along with several members of the band’s touring band. Although the song was a financial windful for Wallinger, he was not pleased with the cover and the involvement of his former bandmates. Karl Wallinger set up his own label and released the fifth World Party album, Dumbing Up, in 2000. He suffered a brain aneurysm in February 2001, which damaged his eyesight and temporarily affected his speech and his ability to create music and play instruments. After five years of recuperating, World Party returned to live performing and played various dates in the US and toured with Steely Dan in Australia. In 2012, Wallinger and the group released the five CD box set Arkeology, which featured new material as well as plenty of rare live and studio recordings. Although there was talk of a new album, nothing ever materialized. The group was officially put on ice in 2015. Karl Wallinger died on March 10, 2024, at the age of 66.

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