World Party

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World Party
OriginLondon, England
GenresAlternative rock, indie pop, folk rock, power pop, psychedelic pop
Years active1986–2015
LabelsEnsign, Chrysalis, Papillon
Past membersKarl Wallinger
Dave Catlin-Birch
Chris Sharrock

World Party were a British musical group, which was essentially the solo project of its sole member, Karl Wallinger. He started the band in 1986 in London after leaving the Waterboys.[1]


After a stint as musical director of a West End performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Karl Wallinger joined a funk band called "The Out", before joining Mike Scott's Waterboys in 1984 to record the album A Pagan Place.[1] After their third album in 1985, This Is the Sea, Wallinger departed to form World Party.

Recorded at Wallinger's home in 1986, his debut album Private Revolution yielded two minor hits in the UK, "Private Revolution" and "Ship of Fools".[1] "Ship of Fools", however, did much better outside the UK – it reached No. 4 in Australia, No. 21 in New Zealand, and No. 27 in the US, in the process becoming the act's only major international hit.

Between World Party's first and second albums, Wallinger aided Sinéad O'Connor in recording her 1988 debut, The Lion and the Cobra. O'Connor, then an unknown, had appeared as a guest on World Party's first album. She would go on to appear as a guest on the second LP as well.

Goodbye Jumbo, World Party's second album, contained the minor UK hit singles "Way Down Now" and "Put the Message in the Box".[1] Wallinger collaborated with fellow songwriter Guy Chambers on some of the tracks. Goodbye Jumbo was voted "album of the year" by Q magazine and was nominated for a Grammy Award for "best alternative music performance" in the US.

After the 1991 EP Thank You World, Wallinger recruited guitarist David Catlin-Birch and ex-Icicle Works drummer Chris Sharrock as fully-fledged members for 1993's album Bang!. It reached No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart, with the track, "Is It Like Today?" (No. 19 on the UK Singles Chart)[1] also becoming a moderately successful single in Europe. Following the success of Bang!, World Party appeared at the Glastonbury Festival in 1994, at which they had previously played in 1987 and 1990.

In 1994, World Party recorded "When You Come Back to Me" for the Reality Bites soundtrack, influenced by David Bowie's 1975 song "Young Americans". Catlin-Birch left shortly afterwards.

Their fourth album, Egyptology (1997), written following the death of Wallinger's mother, was commercially unsuccessful, although "She's the One" won an Ivor Novello Award and was subsequently recorded by Robbie Williams. Sharrock left the group after the recording of this album, leaving Wallinger on his own. Wallinger took a three-year break from World Party, before the release of Dumbing Up in 2000. However, in February 2001 he suffered an aneurysm that left him unable to speak.

After a five-year rehabilitation, in 2006 Wallinger re-emerged onto the scene. With his back catalogue reclaimed from EMI, a distribution deal was agreed (via his own Seaview label) with Universal, and he played his first live show in a decade at the South by Southwest festival in Texas, US. He played additional US dates in 2006 including the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee. Big Blue Ball, a joint project with Peter Gabriel with production work by Stephen Hague was also released.

In September 2007, World Party supported Steely Dan in their first tour of Australia. The Best in Show compilation was released to celebrate the Australian tour.

In 2009, World Party toured the west coast of the US, and appeared at Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival and San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

In 2012, World Party released a new five-CD/70-song collection of new songs, live recordings and cover versions titled Arkeology to critical acclaim. The band toured extensively in America in 2012, and toured England for the first time in 12 years, ending with an appearance in November 2012 in London at the Royal Albert Hall.

Live dates and tours followed through 2015, and a 2013 UK show was issued as a 2-CD set called World Party – Live!. World Party has not toured, released new material, or updated their website since the end of their 2015 North American tour.



Wallinger cites influences such as the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, Junior Walker, Neil Young and Prince. He sings and plays most of the instruments himself, using multi-tracking to create the studio sound. Lyrically, many of his songs feature thoughtful and occasionally political sentiments.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak positions
1987 Private Revolution 56 13 60 18 39
1990 Goodbye Jumbo 36 70 26 38 20 73
1993 Bang! 2 40 49 69 55 9 29 126
1997 Egyptology 34 22 167
2000 Dumbing Up 64
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Live albums[edit]

  • World Party Live! (2014) (recorded live at the Picturedrome, Holmfirth, UK, April 2013)

Compilation albums[edit]


Year Single Peak positions Album
Hot 100

Alt. Songs

Main. Rock

1986 "Private Revolution" 107[17] Private Revolution
1987 "Ship of Fools" 42 4 42 65 21 27 5
"All Come True"
1990 "Put the Message in the Box" 39 86 8 33 Goodbye Jumbo
"Way Down Now" 66 114 53 17 1 21
1991 "Thank You World" 68
1993 "Is It Like Today?" 19 62 24 52 5 38 Bang!
"Give It All Away" 43
"All I Gave" 37
1997 "Beautiful Dream" 31 Egyptology
"She's the One" (promotional only)
"Call Me Up" (promotional only)
2000 "Here Comes the Future" 89 Dumbing Up
2012 "Words!" (promotional only) Arkeology
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Other contributions[edit]

  • Acoustic 05 (2005, Echo) – "She's the One"


  1. ^ a b c d e f Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 1084. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  2. ^ a b "Official Charts > World Party". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b Australian chart peaks:
    • Top 100 (Kent Music Report) peaks to 12 June 1988: Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives: Australian Chart Book. p. 343. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid-1983 and 12 June 1988.
    • Top 50 (ARIA) chart peaks from 13 June 1988: " > World Party in Australian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
    • Top 100 (ARIA) peaks from January 1990 to December 2010: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 306.
  4. ^ Canadian Albums:
  5. ^ a b German chart peaks:
  6. ^ a b "Dutch Charts > World Party in Dutch Charts" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b " > World Party in Australian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  8. ^ " > World Party in Norwegian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  9. ^ " > World Party in Swedish Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  10. ^ "World Party Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  11. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 610. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  12. ^ "Bubbling Down Under Week commencing 8 October 1990". bubblingdownunder. 8 October 2021. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  13. ^ Canadian Singles:
  14. ^ "World Party Chart History > Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  15. ^ "World Party Chart History > Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  16. ^ "World Party Chart History > Mainstream Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Gallup Top 200 Singles". Gallup. 18 October 1986. Retrieved 9 December 2022 – via