World Party was marketed as a band when they emerged on the U.K. pop scene in 1987, but they were really just a musical vehicle for multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Karl Wallinger. Wallinger got his professional start as the musical director for one of the early casts of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. From there he landed a gig with the critics' darling band, the Waterboys. After that band's initial success, he bolted for a solo career. Rather than calling it the Kurt Wallinger Band, he opted to name the project World Party after one of the songs on his debut LP. World Party would be a revolving door of musicians and musical ideas, with Wallinger always at the helm.
The group's first album was a collection of catchy pop songs openly inspired by the Beatles, the Stones, Prince, and Bob Dylan. When the single, "Ship Of Fools," became a global hit, Wallinger put together a touring band to promote the record. World Party received rave reviews for Goodbye Jumbo and were nominated for a Grammy, but they still failed to have a big commercial breakthrough. They did two more albums, Bang! (1993) and Egyptology (1996), and then Wallinger was hit broadside with a brain aneurysm that left him unable to speak. To boot, his former A&R rep had taken one of his best songs, "She's The One," and gave it to Robbie Williams, who scored a #1 hit with it at the same time World Party's version was due out. In the end, the success of Williams' cover was a blessing; it kept money coming in while Wallinger regained his health.
World Party, with Wallinger fully recovered, returned to the music scene in 2000. Wallinger has since released a few albums and tours on occasion.
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