Karl Wallinger, World Party Frontman, Dead at 66

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Karl Wallinger, at right

Karl Wallinger, who fronted Britain’s World Party following a brief stint in the Waterboys, died yesterday (March 10, 2024). No cause or place of death has been announced. Wallinger was 66.

The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was essentially the only constant in World Party, whose sole hit in the U.S. was “Ship of Fools (Save Me From Tomorrow),” which reached #27 in the Billboard singles chart in 1987. World Party also placed four albums in Billboard’s LP chart, the first of which, Private Revolution, released on the Chrysalis label in late 1986, was the most popular, peaking at #39. That album was recorded largely solo by Wallinger at his home and contained the aforementioned “Ship of Fools.”

The 1990 World Party track “Way Down Now,” from the album Goodbye Jumbo, topped Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart. A later track, “She’s the One,” became a hit single in a cover by Robbie Williams.

Karl Edmond De Vere Wallinger was born Oct. 19, 1957, in Prestatyn, Wales, where he began his music career in 1977 as a member of Pax, before forming the band Quasimodo. He served  for some time as the musical director of The Rocky Horror Show and then joined the Waterboys as keyboardist in 1983, soon contributing orchestrations and several instruments to the band—he is heard on the group’s popular 1985 album This is the Sea.

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Leaving the Waterboys in 1987, Wallinger contributed to Sinéad O’Connor’s 1987 debut album, The Lion and the Cobra, before creating World Party’s debut at his home studio. While other musicians did contribute to that project and subsequent World Party releases, the “group” became a vehicle for Wallinger’s solo work for the duration of its existence. A compilation, Best in Show, was released in 2007.

Wallinger also contributed to music by Bob Geldof and others.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. muddywatersmann
    #1 muddywatersmann 12 March, 2024, 01:35

    SAD SAD SAD NEWS 4 ME, loving his music/ his lyrics/his voice….I listen to his music esp while driving, singing along and listening in raptured delight! LEFT US WAY TOO YOUNG, I will miss him, hoping more of his music might be released…the world ALWAYS needs a WORLD PARTY, now more than ever! I will miss the man greatly…I hope lots of folks find him and his music and find the artistry and talent of him…my sympathies to his family friends and fans…

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  2. BMac
    #2 BMac 12 March, 2024, 12:22

    Yeah, now guys closer to MY age are dying. Granted, we haven’t been young in quite a while, but I still find it disconcerting. I’m probably one of the few people in this country who have as many as four World Party CDs.

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