Friday, March 15, 2024

RIP Karl "World Party" Wallinger

I've always loved the Beatles, but in college I was absolutely nutso for them. It was also a time I was deeply exploring anything in the post-psychedelic-Beatles genre, and World Party rose to the very upper echelon of that category. The band's classic is 1990's Goodbye Jumbo, and it was on constant rewind throughout the early 1990s for me.

Karl Wallinger was the leader and often sole member of World Party. He passed away March 20 at the age of 66. The band never truly hit it big, despite decent-sized alterna-hits in "Way Down Now" and "Put the Message in the Box," possibly because grunge came along to wipe out many of the era's more melodic pop groups. Wallinger remained relevant, serving as the musical director of Ben Stiller's 1994 Gen X classic movie Reality Bites.

Growing up, he attended the same school in Wales as all the members of Genesis and later collaborated with Peter Gabriel, who is perhaps World Party's most famous fan. After the success of Goodbye Jumbo, World Party's audience dwindled and Wallinger suffered a brain aneurysm in 2000 and had a long recovery. But he was working on his first song in more than two decades and planning a tour at the time of his death.

The rock-music world also recently lost Eric Carmen, who sang "Go All the Way" by the Raspberries, one of the top songs of the power-pop genre. He also scored big with solo ballads "All By Myself" and of course Dirty Dancing's "Hungry Eyes."

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