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12 March 2024

Karl Wallinger, World Party & The Waterboys Star, Dies Aged 66

Karl Wallinger World Party Dies 66
Photo: WENN Rights/Alamy Stock Photo
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Karl Wallinger, the World Party and The Waterboys star, has died aged 66.

The Welsh musician – who was born Karl Edmond De Vere Wallinger – passed away on Sunday, 10 March, according to a statement from his team. At the time of writing, no cause of death has been revealed.

In 2001, he suffered a brain aneurysm, which put his career on hold, however, he later returned to leading pop project World Party and continued to tour until 2015.

World Party’s 1997 classic She’s the One, which was later covered by Robbie Williams in 1999 and reached number one in the UK Singles Chart, won an Ivor Novello Award. A gifted songwriter, he also penned highly renowned songs such as Ship of Fools, Put the Message in the Box and Is it Like Today?

As well as fronting World Party, Karl Wallinger is best known for his mid-1980s tenure with pioneering British-Irish folk rock band The Waterboys, whose biggest hit was The Whole of the Moon.

Wallinger joined the group 1983 and left after two years, but during his relatively brief tenure, he made vital contributions to A Pagan Place and This Is the Sea, with his keyboards and synths evolving their sound.

He also famously worked on Sinead O’Connor’s 1987 debut album, The Lion and the Cobra, and the late Nothing Compares 2 U hitmaker returned the favour by providing the backing vocals on his first two World Party albums.

Tributes have already begun to flood in for the songwriter and record producer.

The Waterboys lead singer, Mike Scott, paid tribute to Wallinger in a social media post on X, calling him “one of the finest musicians I’ve ever known”. He added: “Travel on well my old friend.”

Curt Smith from Tears For Fears wrote on X: “Very sad news, I was a big fan of Karl’s.”

Singer Chesney Hawkes wrote: “We lost one of the all time greats today. Karl Wallinger was a beautiful soul and a genius songwriter. Rest in peace old friend, I hope you find the rainbow…Now stop what you’re doing and go listen to #Worldparty.”

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