Mike Scott and Peter Gabriel pay tribute to Karl Wallinger

Karl Wallinger, the World Party frontman and former member of The Waterboys, has died aged 66.


Described by his publicist as “presciently ahead of his time”, Wallinger was born in Prestatyn, Wales, working in a variety of roles within the music industry – including as the musical director of The Rocky Horror Show – before joining the Waterboys at the end of the sessions for their 1984 album, A Pagan Place.


He remained a Waterboy for their This Is The Sea album, leaving to form World Party late in 1985.

World Party’s first album, Private Revolution, was released in 1987 and included the hit “Ship Of Fools“; the same year, Wallinger also worked on Sinéad O’Connor’s 1987 debut, The Lion And The Cobra.

World Party’s fourth album, Egyptology, featured “She’s the One“, which later became a Number One hit for Robbie Williams.


World Party’s fifth and final studio album, Dumbing Up, was released in 2000; Wallinger suffered a brain aneurysm the following year.

Wallinger is survived by his wife Suzie Zamit, son Louis Wallinger, daughter Nancy Zamit and two grandchildren.

Mike Scott paid tribute on X to Wallinger: “Travel on well my old friend. You are one of the finest musicians I’ve ever known.”

Peter Gabriel wrote on Facebook: “Shocked and saddened to learn we no longer have Karl Wallinger with us.

“I had admired his work from afar but it was when we did a Real World Recording Week together that I had the most creative and fun week I have ever had in the studio. Karl was overflowing with wonderful musical ideas that blew us all away, all delivered with terrible jokes that had us laughing uncontrollably all day and night. He was such a gifted, natural writer and player, it was a tap that he could turn on at will, effortlessly.

“Like many a great comic and many great musicians, melancholy was strong in the mix, but his charm, humility, intelligence and razor-sharp wit made him great company. Karl was an abundant talent and we have been given extraordinary music and memories from this extraordinary man. Thank you, Karl.”