Classic Rock

Karl Wallinger

October 19, 1957 – March 10, 2024


Karl Wallinger, best known as the frontman and songwriter with World Party, has died of a stroke at his home in Hastings. He was 66.

Born in Prestatyn, Wales, Wallinger was educated at Charterhou­se, the boarding school famously attended by the original five members of Genesis. (He later worked with Peter Gabriel on his Big Blue Ball project, although the two men weren’t at Charterhou­se at the same time.)

It was as keyboard player with The Waterboys that Wallinger first tasted success, playing on the 80s albums A Pagan Place and This Is The Sea, and helping to arrange the music on tracks such as The Whole Of The Moon.

Chief Waterboy Mike Scott once commented that “having Karl in the studio was like having a oneman orchestra around. There might have been a This Is The Sea without him, but it wouldn’t have been the same – or as good”.

Wallinger left The Waterboys to form World Party. Their debut album Private Revolution (’86) was an unusual mix of soul and folk music, and the influence of Prince, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and the Beach Boys continued on 1990s critically acclaimed Goodbye Jumbo.

He also worked with Sinead O’Connor. But his biggest hit was She’s The One, a UK No.1 hit for Robbie Williams in 1999. SR band he was in along with by former Gillan bassist John McCoy, former Samson frontman Nicky Moore, and drummer Vinnie ‘Tubby’ Reed, whose combined weight tipped the scales at more than 1,200lbs (85 stones). “Mac was a great guy and an accomplish­ed player,” says McCoy. “Always a solid, calming voice in the chaotic madness that was Mammoth.”

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