Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Because he wrote She's the One which became a hit for Robbie Williams in 1999 -- and more so because he was sidelined for four years by a brain aneurysm in 2000 -- little has been heard of Karl Wallinger (who is the sole constant in World Party) since his creative peak in the mid Nineties.
At that time he'd cracked the Grammy-nominated album Goodbye Jumbo and followed it up with the equally good but slightly less successful Bang!
Wallinger -- who grew up in Wales and immersed himself in the music of the Beatles, Dylan and the Stones -- was a smart character (he's interviewed here) and a one-man band. When the Message in a Box single/EP from Goodbye Jumbo appeared it included a letter-perfect version of the Lennon-written Beatles' song Happiness is a Warm Gun from '68 which he'd recorded on authentic equipment from the period, and the Is It Like Today single/EP had a slow, melancholy version of McCartney's poppy World Without Love (a number one hit for Peter and Gordon in '64).
He did these . . . because he could.
But also on the Message in a Box single/EP was You're All Invited to The Party (also as You're Invited to a Party on another single) which owed something to other sources, notably Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger.
Delivered in the manner of Jagger's Memo from Turner from the '68 movie Performance, it has a sneering and sullen tone coupled with a skewed Dylanesque narrative. It's also an oblique swipe at unpopular British prime minister Margaret Thatcher who was then in the death throes of her leadership. (She was defeated by a coup from within her Conservative Party in November '90.)
Wallinger hasn't recorded in many years but a look back at just how diverse, deep, original, ironic and yes, astutely derivative his music was at this time of Britpop (which he stood apart from with derision) is instructive.
He also "does Prince" in a couple of non-album singles . . . just because he could?
But that's another story . . .
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